It is a fairly common phenomenon that an NFL wide receiver has their “break out year” in their third year. Whether you believe the “third year theory” or not, after a very promising and productive first and second year, it was almost a certainty that Dwayne Bowe would have his best year yet. That did not occur. So what happened?
First let me start by saying that Dwayne Bowe is a great talent and plays hard. He is young (age 25) and has so much potential on his side. But is he squandering that talent? After registering 70 receptions, 995 yards and 5 TDs in 2007, then 86 receptions and 1,022 yards and 7 TDs in 2008 was Dwayne Bowe resting upon his laurels? Yes, and it is not far fetched to believe so.
Maybe he was so impressed with his skill and his first two seasons’ statistics that he made no effort in the offseason to improve himself. The greats always do: for example, Jerry Rice was notorious about working out in the offseason well after he was considered the greatest of all time (Tony Gonzalez’ good work ethic is notorious too). According to unrefuted reports, Dwayne Bowe showed up to training camp, (after being told well in advance that he needed to be in shape), 20-25 pounds overweight. That would put him at approximately 240 to 245 pounds as a WR! What kind of training was he doing in the offseason to accomplish that? He obviously did absolutely no training at all other than partying with the likes of Jamarcus Russell. This put him in the Haley dog house. That coupled with his intermittent case of the “dropsies” caused him to lose his starting position for a short time.
[Mental note to Dwayne Bowe from an average Joe: most starting receivers start to fade between 30 and 32 years old. You’re a professional athlete. You have 5 to 7 years left to make your money and leave your legacy. You can eat and drink all you want when you’re retired at just over 32.]
To compound the problem, Dwayne thought he could help himself by taking a weight loss drug (diuretic) which he knew, or should have known, was banned by the NFL and lead to his eventual four (4) game suspension. He indicated that he took the banned substance in order to come to camp at his playing weight. As such, he was refusing to take responsibility for his lack of offseason training. All this hints at him being lazy, undisciplined, and even a bone head. I chalk it up to his youth, instant fame and instant money. But there is hope for Dwayne Bowe.
After the suspension, Bowe was contrite and focused, (even though his statistics were less than stellar). It may turn out that the suspension was exactly what he needed to get his head right and become the stud receiver he was supposed to have become in 2009. He must be looking back on last year’s offseason and season with regret. We all hope so, right?
Dwayne Bowe will be a huge part of our offense next year. We desperately need him to do well and be at the top of his game. It will be very interesting to see what shape he shows up in during training camp. We will know right then and there just how mature and disciplined he has become, and what kind of legacy he will leave, and intends to leave, in Kansas City. We are all pulling for him.