The veteran Alouettes defensive end has landed quite the gig. He started his football career in the unlikeliest of places some may consider, which was indoors. He played with the Daytona Beach Hawgs of the National Indoor Football League in 2005. It must be mentioned that the NIFL has quite the following, as it should. But yeah, that was where he got started after he played his college ball…and all in all though, Bowman would make quite the impression as his career got under way.
He would play for 2 other teams during that year and part of the subsequent one in that league, but it was at one point in 2006 that he would be signed with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL. Before all of this though, he played his college ball for Wingate University.
He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, while Wingate is a North Carolina school. Regardless of where he played though, he got the attention of the NIFL and the CFL afterward and it is for his years with the Alouettes in the CFL that he is most known and has certainly reached the status of legend in the eyes of many.
With the Alouettes, he is a 2-time Grey Cup Champion, those cups coming in 2009 and in 2010. He himself was a CFL all-star in 2010 and again in 2015 and CFL East All-star many more times than that.
He looked back on an important game from his past while speaking to the press in 2021 and looked back on the Grey Cup final against Calgary at the Olympic Stadium in Montréal. On that fateful day in 2008, Calgary beat Montreal 22 to14—the 96th Grey Cup, it was.
Of that fateful day he said:
“I remember the game, although not vividly. The defense played phenomenal. We just missed opportunities in that game. That Grey Cup haunts me. We were in Montreal, before (nearly) 70,000 people. The energy was outrageous. Winning that Grey Cup and bringing it to Montreal would have meant the most to me.”via The Montreal Gazette
About how he was embraced by the team and the city he spent 14 seasons playing for, he said:
“The city embraced me. I really could do no wrong, and I don’t know how to say that humbly. Whatever I did, people would embrace it. I did nothing to annoy anybody.
Just to be celebrated and honored is enough for me. (He was to be honored at a game at Molson Stadium in 2021.) I didn’t get to say goodbye to people. How many have played for the Alouettes? A few thousand? You have to be a long-tenured guy to be honored and be in the conversation. I’m honored and appreciative…
Whether people thought I was the best defensive end or the worst, nobody ever said he doesn’t play hard. The only thing you can control is your effort, attitude and image…
Whether I wanted to play again or not, that’s irrelevant. Not a lot of people play 14 years. To stay in one organization for as long as I did was a blessing. That gives me peace. I’m happy with what I accomplished — individually and as a team.”via The Montreal Gazette
All in all, perhaps his greatest stat is of course his sacks record, which sits him as an all-time highest for the Alouettes at 134 sacks! He retired in 2020 and was always clear about wanting to coach, and now he has gotten that opportunity with this announcement. Yet it isn’t only him that has kind words to say, as the Alouettes also sent him well-wishes over social media, despite his working for an opposing team. They tweeted when the announcement was made:
“Good luck on this new adventure @7Bowman! We wish you the best (except during the games against Montreal of course.”The Alouettes via Twitter
All in good fun, but the gesture is a warm one for sure, and is nice to see. The Lions had this to say on their acquisition. Rick Campbell, who is BC’s co-general manager and head coach, said this of Bowens:
“John will be a great addition to our staff as we continue the steps toward building for 2022 and beyond.”via The Montreal Gazette
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I guess this makes his ‘Heart of a lion’ tattoo that he has on his left arm that much more appropriate. He was quite the ‘Lion’ for Montreal, and there are perhaps many more accomplishments on the horizon for this epic talent. We too wish him well in his new endeavor with the BC Lions.