ALAMEDA (AP) — NaVorro Bowman will make a short move following his release last week from the San Francisco 49ers, signing a $3 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders on Monday.
“It’s a refresher for me,” Bowman said after taking part in a walkthrough with his new team. “It’s a new picture, new scenery. The guys are a special group of guys. You can just see the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. I’m excited to go out there and play for an offense that is eager to score points. I look forward to it.”
Bowman visited the Raiders on Monday and then signed the deal shortly after that, cancelling a planned visit to the Dallas Cowboys. He went right into meetings with the assistant coaches and could be ready to play when the Raiders (2-4) host the first-place Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
Bowman said he will do extra work this week to learn the defense and said he plans to play this week if he’s prepared enough. The Raiders will be happy to get him on the field to add some experience to a young group of inside linebackers.
“He’s a veteran guy. He’s played a lot of good ball over the years,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “We’re excited to have him. We’re a little green at the linebacker position. To add somebody with the experience that he has, we think it’s a nice addition for us and we’ll get him up to speed and we’ll see how quickly we can get him on the field.”
Bowman was released on his request last Friday after seven-plus seasons with the 49ers. San Francisco had tried to trade him but ended up releasing him instead so Bowman could pick his next team. Bowman said the chance to remain in the Bay Area where his twin 5-year-old girls and 8-year-old son won’t have to be uprooted was an important factor in his decision.
He is joining a team that needs some help after four straight losses turned the Raiders from a potential Super Bowl contender into a last-place team.
Bowman brings a veteran presence to Oakland’s young linebacker group that started rookie Marquel Lee and second-year player Corey James for most of the year. Undrafted rookies Nicholas Morrow and Xavier Woodson-Luster got most of the snaps in Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Chargers with Lee out with an ankle injury and James limited to seven snaps by a sore knee.
“I feel like it’s going to help all of us,” James said. “I was just asking what time will he get in tomorrow so we can watch film. I feel it will help me out to learn from a future Hall of Famer. I’m just excited that he’s here.”
Bowman was once one of the top inside linebackers in the league, earning first team All-Pro honors four times, including in 2015 after coming back from a devastating knee injury. Bowman then tore his Achilles tendon early last season and missed most of the year before coming back again this year.
While he lacks some of the speed he had when he was younger, Bowman still can help a team at age 29 with his play on the field and leadership skills.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching, giving my knowledge to anyone,” Bowman said. “Young guys, they tend to think a lot when they’re at this level. I’ll be able to slow it down for them. It’s always easier to hear it from a player than a coach.”
Bowman started the first five games of the season with the 49ers, recording 38 tackles and one pass defensed. He had been upset about being taken out for stretches of games after being an every-down player most of his career.
NOTES: The Raiders released LB Tyrell Adams to make room for Bowman on the roster. ... Oakland held a walkthrough and gave an estimated injury report. James, Lee, CB Gareon Conley (shin) and RT Marshall Newhouse would not have been able to practice. Morrow (ankle), G Gabe Jackson (foot), FB Jamize Olawale (concussion) and TE Lee Smith (knee) would have been limited.
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