Longtime Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman John Bowman knows the realities of the Canadian Football League well after 14 seasons playing north of the border.
The coronavirus pandemic could provide financial strain on the CFL.
“They have to try to do what’s best for the league because this isn’t a league that grosses billions of dollars like the NFL, I don’t think it can survive with too many lost dollars. So they’re going to try to operate as safely as possible, but get as many things done as possible,” Bowman said on TSN 690 radio in Montreal.
“For everybody, it’s an evolving situation, nobody knows what’s happening. This off-season I got voted as vice president of the CFLPA union. In these times everybody is calling me and wants to know what’s happening. As a union we’ve talked to the league twice a week.”
CFL Players’ Association president Solomon Elimimian has told the membership to prepare for the worst amid the COVID-19 crisis. There have been discussions with the league about whether training camps can start on time as well as what a modified start to the season could look like. According to commissioner Randy Ambrosie, the CFL Draft will go ahead as planned on April 30.
“As long as it’s not endangering anybody, we’re in 2020 now, so we can do things at home, nobody is getting harmed, nobody is getting put in danger, they can set it up. At the end of the day, it’s their business and they can run it how they see fit,” Bowman said.
While physical distancing and self-isolating at his Montreal home, Bowman has been working out in preparation for season number 15 in La Belle Province. The 37-year-old played 16 regular season games in 2019 recording 45 tackles, eight sacks, one forced fumble and one interception and he was named an East all-star.
“Hopefully, if we can get things worked out, maybe I will come back, but it won’t be for a lack of trying because my old bones are still trying to do what’s best for me,” Bowman said.
“We’re still working on some things. I haven’t been in contact with the team much, we were talking every week, every two weeks before this happened. I was working out as if I’m coming back, and this thing hit us out of nowhere.”
Bowman was a key part of the Als turnaround season a year ago. Montreal went from 5-13 and missing the playoffs four straight years, a dubious franchise record, to posting a 10-8 mark and hosting playoff game.
“You can’t take a step back, the Alouettes have to try to capitalize on the momentum while it’s a bunch of uncertainty in the league as far as who is the top dog,” Bowman said.
“You want to assert yourself and be in position to capitalize on the situation.”