Back in June—when Navorro Bowman talked about retiring initially—he said he and Patrick Willis were the best linebacker duo ever, and he was headed to his house to “have a beverage or two, and talk about retirement.” On Wednesday morning, Bowman was on 95.7 The Game to talk more about retiring as a San Francisco 49er, playing with Willis, and the “Pick at the Stick.”
Bowman started by talking about how he wanted to stay in San Francisco, but was grateful they welcomed him back:
“I wanted to be a Niner at the end but it just didn’t work out officially but it was great that they welcomed me back. The guys really opened their arms. I just enjoyed being back there. For them to give me a chance to be on their roster for one day, that means a lot … And my family, my kids can also see that I was a Niner. For a while, I put in a lot of work for them. I’m just grateful to have the career that I’ve had.”
Bowman made three Pro Bowls, and was a four-time All-Pro. Bowman was a star. He should be incredibly proud of what he was able to accomplish.
The next subject was Bowman discussing walking into a situation where he played alongside Willis and what he learned from the great linebacker:
“Me being a linebacker and really wanting to be the best also, I wanted to pick his brain, and really see exactly how he was on and off the field, how he became that type of linebacker. And that’s what you have to do in order to be great. Sometimes, people didn’t even know who was making the tackles. That’s just a testament to how hard we worked together, making sure we was doing everything right.”
We may never see a linebacker duo like Bowman and Willis again in our lifetime. If you hear people throw names around comparing some combination to the two, laugh it off. Don’t even waste your time. I think that’s the power of sports. It goes beyond the football field. I love that the two still have a relationship outside of the white lines.
You can’t talk to Bowman without getting him to talk about the “Pick at the Stick.” Like only a player or coach could, Bowman remembers the game and not just the play:
“You guys won’t forget [the pick-six] but I try to forget the first half of that game — or whatever it was. I don’t think it was exactly the first half, but there was an onside kick that was kicked to me, and I never missed an onside kick in practice. That’s why the coaches trusted me being on the hands team. In that game, I missed it. The Falcons recovered it. They started driving, and I just kept thinking about that play. I remember Patrick saying, ‘Let it go. We got you.”
The attention to detail. The pick me up from Willis. I love it. Bowman continued:
”We stayed on it; we stayed fighting. I was able to get out of that scrum and come up with the ball and take it back (to the end zone). That was just a relief because I don’t think we would have made it to the postseason if we wouldn’t have made that stop.”
There is so much nostalgia tied into that play with 49ers fans.
Check out the rest of the interview below: