The star linebacker requested to be released and the team granted that request on Friday, according to general manager John Lynch at a news conference. That came shortly after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the 49ers were shopping the unhappy Bowman in a trade. According to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, Lynch had talked to all 31 teams and had a trade in place – 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called it a “pretty good” trade – but it didn’t work out as Bowman wanted and he wanted to evaluate his options himself.
Bowman played at a great level since 2010 for the 49ers, and the team decided to do what was right by the player.
“NaVorro gave his heart and soul to this team for the last eight years, and for that we are all extremely grateful,” Lynch said in a statement. “During that time, NaVorro was a key component of one of the best teams in the League and his passion for the game allowed him to quickly become a favorite of our faithful fans. Thursday evening, Kyle and I met with NaVorro, and from our conversation it became evident that going in different directions was best for both him and our team. Although NaVorro may be moving on, he will always be looked at as one of the great players to wear the red and gold. We wish him and his family great success.”
It’s an abrupt end to a great 49ers career for Bowman. He is a four-time All-Pro and has been one of the NFL’s best inside linebackers in this era. But with the 49ers struggling again at 0-5, it couldn’t have been exciting for the 29-year-old Bowman to envision playing out the rest of the season on a team going nowhere. According to Mindi Bach of NBC Sports Bay Area, Bowman wasn’t happy with reduced playing time, which Shanahan felt would keep Bowman fresh.
Bowman will always be fondly remembered in San Francisco. He was one of the league’s best players before suffering a terrible knee injury in the NFC championship game against the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2014 season, and came back from that injury last season after missing a year. He suffered a torn Achilles last season and came back from that too.
Bowman’s most memorable moment as a 49er probably came in 2013, when he picked off Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown to seal a win in the final game at Candlestick Park.
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