On the same day the San Francisco 49ers reported for training camp, the team placed NaVorro Bowman on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List.
The All-Pro inside linebacker, who suffered a devastating knee injury in San Francisco's NFC Championship game loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 19, is now eligible to be activated at any point in training camp. Bowman has been rehabbing his torn ACL at team headquarters throughout the offseason. He'll have more time to work with doctors and strength coaches as camp begins on Thursday.
It's worth noting that active PUP players who are on the designated list at the start of the regular season will be ineligible to play in the first six regular season games.
The San Francisco 49ers arrived at the SAP Performance Facility for the start of 2014 training camp.
Bowman was the fourth member of the 49ers to be placed on the Active/PUP list. He joins nose tackle Ian Williams and two rookies, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch and defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey.
Bowman's training camp absence will be a changeup for many members of the defense, including seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Staley.
"We were out there doing the conditioning test this morning and I looked over at him," Willis said of his close friend. "I wanted to yell out, 'Bo! What's up man?' But I don't want to put more than he already has on his shoulders. I know he wants to be out there more than anything.
"I just want him to take his time and when he comes back, he'll be ready to go."
Willis will line up in Bowman's "Mike" linebacker spot. Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, Chris Borland and Shayne Skov are competing to play next to Willis in the "Jack" linebacker position.