Montreal Alouettes defensive end John Bowman isn’t ruling out extending his playing career into next season.
The veteran knows that decision isn’t solely on him, though.
“First of all, it (depends) if the team wants you back or not. Everybody’s putting all this pressure on me, put some pressure on the Alouettes too,” Bowman said at Montreal’s season-ending media availability.
“I’m just going to take some time and think about it. I think I’m due that. I’m not owed a lot, but just (need) some time of reflection and see if I can gear up for another seven, ten month journey cause we start training in January.”
Bowman told reporters he was 98 per cent sure he’d retire at the end of the 2018 season early in October.
This isn’t the first time that Bowman has considered retirement. He also contemplated it last season before signing a one-year contract with Montreal for 2018.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. native says he isn’t being pressured by the Alouettes to make a decision right away.
“I’ve already talked to Bob (Wetenhall, the Alouettes owner) and Kavis (Reed, the general manager) a bit and let them know how I was feeling,” Bowman said. “They told me to take my time.”
Bowman, 36, registered five sacks in 14 games this season and recorded a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown in the final home game of the Alouettes (5-13) season.
Bowman is the franchise’s all-time sack leader with 126 through his 13-year career. Only five other Alouettes players have played more games for the team than he has, including former teammates Anthony Calvillo and Ben Cahoon.
“Sitting in the locker room talking to Ben Cahoon when I was a rookie and he was probably by then 10 years in,” Bowman said. “Him having the time to reach out to me and (Calvillo) likewise, and (Anwar Stewart). Talking to guys like that and the way they accepted me into the locker room early, it was amazing.”
Bowman has his supporters on the Alouettes’ defence, including defensive back Jermaine Robinson. The 29-year old answered questions at his locker Sunday with a small John Bowman card taped to his locker door. Robinson said teammates sometimes chant ‘one more year’ during team meetings to entice Bowman to return next season.
Robinson appeared certain that Bowman wouldn’t retire.
“He’s coming back,” Robinson said. “He loves it here. He’s got a lot left. We owe it to him.”
Linebacker Henoc Muamba echoed that sentiment.
“We’re eating just next door (from the locker room) and I told him that I was going to come and spread the rumour that he’s coming back for another year. He didn’t stop me from it. So I’m going to say that he’s coming back for another year,” Muamba said.
“He’s tremendously important. I knew he was good, but playing a whole season with him, I really realized how special he is. The fact that he’s doing what he’s doing and being able to impact the games like he does at this stage of his career, at this stage of his life is amazing and tremendous.”