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Can 49ers' NaVorro Bowman be the next NFL Comeback Player of the Year?

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NaVorro Bowman is recovering from an ACL tear, but can he produce big time and earn an NFL award in 2015?

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Over at the SB Nation mothership, I wrote a post on potential winners for the 2015-16 Comeback Player of the Year award. Obviously, it's quite a bit early to be predicting yearly awards, but at least as far as this award is concerned, we have a general idea of the players who can be eligible for it. More often than naught, the players who win the award were injured for all or a portion of the previous season.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski thought his playing days were over in 2013, but he came back stronger than ever and lit up the league with 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns during the 2014 regular season. He also put up 204 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason. Obviously, Gronkowski earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

The discussion on who could potentially win it next year is relevant to us here because the first guy on my list is none other than San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Bowman tore his ACL late in 2013 and missed the entirety of last season. There was some thought he might be available late in the year, but it would have been pointless to try and rush him in there. He's had more time than usual to heal and should be 100 percent when the regular season rolls around. It's my opinion that Bowman and Patrick Willis were not just the best tandem of inside linebackers in the league, but that they were the No. 1 and No. 2 inside linebackers in the league individually.

If Bowman is healthy, and if the NFL media actually pays attention to inside linebackers, I could easily see Bowman taking the award with his skill. He's usually all over the field, he's making plays and on top of that, the 49ers really need him to perform well this coming season.

Of course, Bowman isn't the only contender. He could have some stiff competition this year, from fellow linebackers Sean Lee and Kiko Alonso, wide receiver Victor Cruz, and quarterbacks Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III, Carson Palmer and Nick Foles. Those aren't the only candidates, of course, but they're the ones I covered in the post above. What do you guys think?