ESPN's E:60 investigative news program had a really interesting 20-minute segment with 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman Tuesday evening. Before providing some thoughts on it, here is a quick rundown of when it will re-air. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend checking it out.
10/17 - 4 a.m. ET on ESPN2
10/18 - 2 a.m. ET on ESPN2 and 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2
10/19 - 7 a.m. ET on ESPN2 and 10 a.m. ET on ESPNEWS
10/20 - 1 a.m. ET on ESPNEWS and 8 a.m. ET on ESPNEWS
10/21 - 7 a.m. ET on ESPNEWS and 9 a.m. ET on ESPNEWS
On to the episode
The hook for the E:60 segment was that "Bowman had recently learned about a family secret, a secret that had long been kept from him and that threw everything he thought he knew about himself into question."
The episode actually lived up to the hype. When Bowman was in college, his dad (Hillard) died, and it had Bowman questioning whether or not to continue playing football. He did continue, but after Hillard's death, NaVorro learned from his mother that Hillard who died was not his biological father. Bowman's real dad was a guy Bowman's mom met (named Tracy) while her marriage was going through some trouble. Hillard and NaVorro's mom got back together, and Hillard took care of NaVorro like he was his own son.
NaVorro's biological father was in and out of jail, and was killed before the 49ers linebacker had a chance to meet him. Bowman talked about how he didn't talk to his fiance about all this for several years. You have to wonder how this impacted him on a day-to-day basis carrying this information.
He eventually discussed it with his fiance, and this seemed to help spur his decision to visit North Carolina and meet half-siblings and nephews he never knew about. They all got together, and during that time NaVorro's half-sister showed him where Tracy was killed. The killing was ruled self-defense, and at one point the guy who killed Tracy drives by. It's very surreal. The segment wraps with Bowman visiting Tracy's grave in a fairly emotional moment.
It's kind of crazy to think that the 49ers pair of inside linebackers have such life-altering stories. Patrick Willis' story is from his childhood, while Bowman's story is only more recently, but both are pretty significant in their life development.