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Bowman Relishes Leadership Role

Posted Aug 12, 2013

NaVorro Bowman is not the same player he was in his first training camp. He's doing a lot of teaching in his fourth camp.

Patrick Willis sits in the back, flanking linebackers coach Jim Leavitt. NaVorro Bowman likes to stand up front, leaning against the wall. Less experienced ‘backers are spread around the room.

There is no lecturing in the position group’s meetings around Santa Clara headquarters – at least not one from person. There’s give and take. Everyone is involved.

“Sometimes hearing from a coach is repetitive – it may not stick – but when you hear it from a peer that’s out there in the fire, you listen to it more. That’s the ability that me and Pat have in our rooms, to coach with our coach, and he doesn’t mind it,” Bowman said before Monday’s training camp practice. “It’s a tight-knit room. There are no egos from the players or the coaches. That’s the best thing about our room.”

[ PHOTOS - TRAINING CAMP: AUG. 11 ]

With Willis out, reportedly due to a surgery on a fractured hand – and backup Michael Wilhoite emerging as a key reserve in his stead – Bowman is commanding Vic Fangio’s unit. The huddles are his. So are the calls.

“I look at myself as a leader and anytime Pat’s not in there or Cowboy’s not in there, I look at myself as the guy to get everybody on the same page and ready to go,” Bowman said of Willis and defensive tackle Justin Smith, a Pro Bowler like his linebacking teammates. “You have to have a guy like that on your defense.”

Rookies Corey Lemonier and Nick Moody, third- and sixth-round draftees last April, among others relatively new to the team, are taking advantage.

“I ask questions a lot, and they’re always there to answer,” Lemonier said of veteran outside linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson as well as second-year pro Aldon Smith. “I’ll ask them football-related, not football-related – they’re very helpful.”

Bowman, still 25 and only entering his fourth NFL season, remembered being in those cleats. He spoke a lot less in his first training camp.

“I was an observer when I came in. I never came in thinking I was the guy,” he said. “I always knew I could play and had the confidence, but when you come into this league for so many years, you want to learn from them: See what not to do and what to do.

“I’m around Pat most of the day and he plays my position, so I learned a lot from him.”
 

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