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Gameday Q&A: NaVorro Bowman

Posted Nov 8, 2013

NaVorro Bowman is the cover subject of this week's 49ers Gameday Magazine.

As impossible as it sounds, NaVorro Bowman continues to raise his level of play. The fourth-year linebacker is a two-time All-Pro, and is still focused on improving his high standard of play.

Perhaps the ultimate compliment is when people mistake Bowman’s play-making on the field for fellow superstar linebacker Patrick Willis. The two inside ‘backers in San Francisco’s 3-4 defense are practically twins in action. Both are able to chase down ball carriers from sideline to sideline. Both can defeat one-on-one blocks while blitzing. And best of all, they don’t care who gets the credit.

PHOTOS
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THE BEST OF NAVORRO BOWMAN IN 2013


Just don’t mistake Bowman’s kindness as a weakness. Anybody who watches No. 53 patrol the middle of the 49ers defense knows that Bowman is a relentless player, capable of striking fear in any opponent. The 6-foot, 242-pound linebacker has led San Francisco’s defense in tackles in each of the past two seasons and continues to lead the team in 2013.

Bowman’s play is respected league-wide. He also doesn’t take his position for granted. A former third-round draft pick in 2010, he has quickly become one of the greatest draft picks in franchise history.

Gameday caught up with the All-Pro linebacker to discuss his unique experiences with the 49ers.

What is it like playing at Candlestick Park?

It’s humbling just to have so much history come before you. You know what the fans are used to and what the organization is used to. It makes you understand the type of team you’re a part of – the type of football that is known to be played. It’s known for winning. Anybody that comes here or is drafted, as soon as they come through the door, you know you’re going to a very good team.

What makes the 49ers Faithful so you unique?

Coming from Penn State, I thought their fan base was the best. And then being in the NFL, you’d think it would die down because we’re at the professional level. But the fans here, it just reminds me of college in Happy Valley with how supportive they are and how supportive they are no matter our record. They’re at the games every Sunday cheering us on. And we as players, we just want to give back knowing how hard they’re cheering us on and how much support they give us. Every day after practice there’s a crowd of fans out there. If the fans don’t already know, we definitely appreciate that. We notice that and we’re definitely playing our hearts out on Sundays.

Are 49ers fans easy to spot on the road?

The stadiums sometimes look like they’re our own stadiums. Definitely when the offense is doing well and they’re rolling or when the defense is doing well against opposing offenses – the fans are definitely letting it be known that they are in the building. They definitely help us out on the road. When times get tough and we face adversity out there, the fans get us going; they keep us in the game.

What’s it like traveling with the team on the road?

Class. Everything is laid out. We’re never running through any speed bumps. The trips just go smoothly and I think that’s the reason we’re able to go out and play from A-Z. The 49ers organization really handles the players well and treats us well.

What do you like most about playing for Coach Harbaugh?

He’s a guy who comes to work happy every single day. He appreciates his job and understands the blessing that comes with being here, knowing what we do. He reminds the players of that. As a head coach, you wouldn’t want to play for anybody else. He gets the best out of you every single day. Even when you feel like you’re down – you don’t feel good – he finds a way to get you to give that last little bit in your tank. Who wouldn’t want to play for a guy like that? It feels like he’s out there playing in the game.

How much appreciation do you have for the defensive line?

There wouldn’t be NaVorro. There wouldn’t be Patrick. I think he would agree with me. Those guys up front allow us to move around and make the plays that we make. They don’t get a lot of credit and it’s not in the stat book – but we notice it and we understand. We make sure we treat those guys right.

If you had to go against one of the 49ers offensive linemen, which is the one guy you’d least want to face?

I’m inside so I don’t get to go against Anthony Davis a lot, but that’s a tough matchup any time you go there. Inside, the guy I go up against a lot in training camp is Mike Iupati. It’s not that he’s so good – he is – but just his size gives me a problem. He brings havoc on a linebacker. You really have to do everything right technique-wise as a linebacker because he can get you out of position and win his block.

What’s the best part about being on the 49ers?

The best part is when I talk to other guys on other teams, they might not be as happy or know they’re loved by their organization. I don’t sense that here with the 49ers. I’m happy to wake up and come to work every single day. There’s not a person in this building who I wouldn’t want to talk to or be around. I’m just happy to spend my days here and I enjoy coming to work.

PRO BOWL VOTE: SEND BOWMAN TO HAWAII