For the well-being of the franchise, Als need Bowman back

Another week of CFL action and another week of the Alouettes losing in embarrassing fashion. It can’t be easy for professional athletes to stomach losing by several touchdowns each week, especially those who have championship experience. Such is the case for Montreal defensive end John Bowman, the last gladiator standing from the days of Als glory. With Chip Cox seemingly adjusting to retirement, Bowman literally is the last man standing.

Throughout this sad season, Bowman has been the consummate professional, both on and off the field. The usually gregarious New York native has seven sacks on the year, but you can tell that this season is weighing on him.

I ran into John a couple of weeks ago at a Montreal dinner spot. He was having a quiet bite to eat with an uncle visiting from out of town. At the time, Bowman was sporting a cast on his left arm, an injury that didn’t keep him off the field, but was certainly a symbol of what a trying year it’s been for the veteran all-star.

After exchanging pleasantries and a couple of laughs with me, Bowman went back to his quiet dinner, the night before yet another on-field loss. But that’s him in a nutshell. When someone needs something from him, or when there’s an opportunity to brighten someone’s day, Bowman shows up.

“From my first to last day as an Alouettes player, Bo showed up to work everyday and played with the hunger & intensity of a guy who had a chip on his shoulder. He understands the business and the game, and you throw in his talent, he’s a Hall-of-Famer in my book,” said former teammate, retired NFL and CFL wide receiver Brandon London. London now works for Giants TV, one of his former NFL teams.

That’s the way it’s been since the Wingate University product arrived in Montreal for the 2006 season. He’s been a pillar in the community and in the locker room. Bowman joined the Alouettes in the midst of the blessed Calvillo years and experienced all of the highs that went along with playing in front of packed Olympic Stadium playoff crowds and St. Catherine street parades.

But now we’re several years removed from anything remotely resembling the word championship – except the approach and attitude that Bowman exhibits week in and week out.

As President Patrick Boivin and General Manager Kavis Reed examine the 2018 on and off field challenges that Montreal faces, they HAVE to know the impact that not bringing back Bowman would yield. Sure, he makes more than what a younger replacement would. But he also gives more in every sense.

For over a decade now, Bowman has been front and centre at countless charitable and other events in the city. In a place where language can sometimes be a barrier or a reason to exclude, Bowman has transcended it all in the vein of a Tim Raines.

You don’t have to look farther than his social media accounts to see just how active Bowman has been in the community. On Sunday he paid respect to retiring Montreal Impact captain Patrice Bernier. During warm-ups of his Sunday matchup with the TiCats he wore a Chip Cox jersey, to pay homage to the incredible career of his longtime fallen teammate.

In a cryptic post prior to the Hamilton tilt, Bowman reflected on his 12 years in Montreal and asked fans  to join him at the stadium for another ride. If this was Bowman indicating that he’s contemplating retirement then he’s earned that right. But if it’s his fear that the team won’t bring him back in 2018 then something has to be done.

You can’t teach what Bowman has. He makes people feel good. He genuinely cares about his teammates and community. Now it’s time for the Alouettes to show they care and give the fans something positive for next year by immediately announcing that they’re bringing him back in 2018. Without him it could be an even longer football campaign – both on the field and in the community.

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Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, and He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.
Matthew Ross
Matthew Ross
About Matthew Ross (26 Articles)
Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, and He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.

9 Comments on For the well-being of the franchise, Als need Bowman back

  1. Lancaster/Reed // October 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm //

    My initial reaction was, hes 35, his days are done. He isn’t effective anymore. But then i looked at his 2017 stats. 30 tackles and 7 sacks. I stand corrected. The man can still play at a high level.

  2. Yep At 35 and playing at D.E. you would think a player has nothing left in the tank. QB’s can obviously extend their careers over 35 and up. But all other positions? You would think a player looses a step or two. I can remember when Bowman was riding the bench, a couple of years ago for a couple games. He was humiliated the way he had been disrespeced and treated. That coach was fired (by Popp) and Bowman was inserted back into the lineup. Who’s to say How an athlete feels? Is age only a number? If the man is still producing results on and off the field, he deserves to remain the incumbent. Until someone replaces hi m, whether that be an up and coming draft choice. Who Bowman could mentor. He deserves one more season at least, to see if he still has it. And retire with the Als, in the hope they can turn their disastrous season of this year around.

    • Marc Lebut // October 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm //

      As long as Kavis Reed and Joe Mack will be in Montréal, things will get worse. I like Kavis as STC, but he’s a horrible HC and GM. AS for Sleepy Joe Mack, he’ll get you a good player here and then, but he’ll never build a winning team.

      If you can read the comments on, you’ll understand this franchise is in danger. Back to 8 teams IS a probable scenario.

    • Not only QBs but kickers can extend their careers a fair bit as well. Lou Passaglia comes to mind. But I agree with you when talking about other positions especially linemen including DEs

  3. Its not for me to say that he should be back next year. But I like and respect him, and hope he sticks around in some capacity.

  4. Marc Lebut // October 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm //

    Although Bo would be a great rotation guy, I doubt he wants to be back in the mess this team has turned into. He called on the lack of effort from many guys on this team, like they don’t care to deliver on the field. Why things would be different next season with Boivin, Reed and Mack still in charge? New HC, new coaches? Yeah, sure. Kavis is gonna reach for Marcel Bellefeuille, Mike Kelly, Rich Stubler and or Bart Andrus. He’s gonna trade his drafts picks for has been rejects and say he has a “process” part of his “plan”, about which he couldn’t say a word.

    Honestly, why woud a guy like Bowman who gives all he has week in and week out would come back with such a bunch of lazy bones?

    Cox is retired, and I figure many will leave. Brodeur-Jourdain, Logan, Lewis, Hebert, Stewart, Bédard, Matte, Simmons, and a whole bunch I don’t care not to see them back.

    Bowman deserves better than this joke of a team.

  5. habbernack // October 26, 2017 at 4:19 pm //

    No reason he can’t be a player-coach or a D-line coach. Same with Cox and Nick. These players should be offered a position in the organization. We need their passion and their love of the Als whether it be on the field or on the sidelines.

  6. the als of yesteryear are gone now, as for john bowman, yes, in my opinion, they should let him come back for one more year, the guy was doubled team for the most of the season, but he still got 7 sacks, anyone else near him. i do agree with coach or gm n mack, bye bye to all of them. come on montreal, you know the fan base is there. get some guys that can play the football, n for heavens sake ac, get a new playbook. remember when you came to montreal, they rebuilt the offensive line just to protect its your turn to protect the qb. many games i counted 6n 7 steamboats, really ac, you had plays where you got rid of the ball in 2or 3 seconds. it worked well once, it can work for nik lewis, he should be brought back for short passes, the guy is still a bull.

  7. Stop it already. With the oldest roster in the league by far, people actually want to keep some of their senior citizens again next year? What Montreal needs to do is just permanently close the retirement home and move on.

    Joey still >>>>>>>>>>>>> Matthew.

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