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New Raiders defensive coordinator wants NaVorro Bowman back next season

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The former 49ers linebacker played well for Oakland after his release.

It was hard to see the San Francisco 49ers let go of linebacker NaVorro Bowman, a great player who, due to his injuries, was struggling to handle the particular scheme ran by Robert Saleh and Kyle Shanahan. Bowman was being paid like the best linebacker in the NFL, but he started to miss big plays that he used to get, and the 49ers decided to let him go.

The Oakland Raiders were more than happy to give Bowman a one-year deal to keep him in the Bay Area. As someone who doesn’t really have any ill will towards the Raiders myself, I was happy to see him land on his feet. And land he did — he was very good down the stretch for the Raiders, who recently hired Paul Guenther as their new defensive coordinator.

Guenther spoke to the Bay Area media on Wednesday and had a lot of nice things to say about key players, including Bowman.

“I think NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker,” Guenther said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “I love smart guys who love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”

Guenther also said that he was impressed that Bowman was able to come in midseason and not only learn the defense, but become a leader in the locker room. I’m sure nobody here is surprised by his ability to do that, as he was a popular player in the 49ers locker room as well.

Bowman won’t ever be in the 49ers’ plans again, but I’m happy to see him fit in well in Oakland, and happy to see that the team’s new defensive coordinator believes in his ability as well. Raiders fans especially seem happy to have a stabilizing force in the middle of the defense, even if he’s not necessarily as high level as he once was.