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49ers sign LB NaVorro Bowman, meaning he can officially retire with the team

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It was always going to happen this way

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals

Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman announced his retirement a little over a month ago in June. The Niners couldn’t sign him to a one-day deal back then, due to the need for a corresponding roster move. There’s no need to wait for that anymore. Eric Branch reported it first, but the 49ers officially signed Bowman to a free-agent contract so he can retire a 49er.

Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports that the 49ers were able to sign Bowman now thanks to a new rule allowing them to do so because rookies Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel remain unsigned. It seems like it can never be as easy as it needs to be.

Here is a clip from Chris Biderman back when Bowman announced his retirement on June 4:

Bowman will likely be remembered for what he could have been, despite being one of the best linebackers during his time in the NFL. The injuries he suffered during 2014 and 2016 cost what would have been an even more brilliant career. Still, an eight-year career featuring some memorable plays will be impossible to remember Bowman as anything besides a legend. What a player.