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NaVorro Bowman addresses trade rumors, competition at linebacker

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The 49ers defensive leader is ready for the competition.

Back after the draft, a rumor started circulating that the San Francisco 49ers were shopping linebacker NaVorro Bowman. While it would not have been entirely surprising, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan quickly shot down the rumor. They issued a statement, and Lynch later reiterated that they were not shopping Bowman.

On Tuesday, Kyle Shanahan reiterated that nothing had happened. He said that Bowman had spoken with Lynch to clear the air. Shanahan expected Bowman to want to speak to him as well, but the linebacker was satisfied with what Lynch had to say.

Bowman chatted with the media after practice on Tuesday, and he had a chance to speak about the rumors (h/t @Chris Biderman). He acknowledged that trades are part of the business, and he was prepared for any challenges. He seemed to accept John Lynch’s explanation, but I think as a long-time veteran, he also understands that trades are part of the business. If the 49ers got an offer they couldn’t refuse and dealt Bowman, I don’t think he would be entirely shocked by it. That’s just the way business is. That being said, he did get in a little shot at Mike Lombardi, the original reporter of the rumor.

“He mentioned that it was a rumor. Things were misinterpreted,” said Bowman. “And I also heard about the guy who reported it, who wanted some type of attention off of reporting that. But the NFL knows what type of player I am. Injuries are part of the game. I’ve done everything I need to do to get back to where I am today.”

Bowman faces an intriguing competition at linebacker. The 49ers have Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Malcolm Smith, and Reuben Foster competing for three linebacker spots. More than likely Smith and Foster will be in some kind of rotation, but Bowman is ready for competition regardless.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday that they have some quality linebackers, and one good one would end up on the sideline for some portion of a given game. Bowman’s response?

“I won’t be on the sideline,” Bowman said. “I’m going to tell you that now.”

The linebacker said he is not concerned about competition because he knows what he brings to the table. At some point Reuben Foster could eventually push him out of his starting job, but right now, Bowman is ready for competition regardless of the age of his competition.