Longtime Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman John Bowman won’t be playing CFL football beyond 2020.
“This coronavirus situation may have made the decision for me. Definitely if we don’t play this year or if held back, I’m just speculating, if there’s no season, I definitely won’t be playing again. But if there’s a little bit of season to be played, we’ll see. This will be it, this year, however it’s going to happen,” Bowman told TSN reporter Matthew Scianitti.
“My mind is strong. I’m not as talented as a lot of guys out there, I’m not fast, I’m not strong – my mind is what got me through a lot of games. Mentally, I have the fortitude to play again. My physical [ability] was probably the main reason for me contemplating retirement.”
During the 2019 season, Bowman played 16 regular season games recording 45 tackles, eight sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. He was named an East all-star for his efforts. Bowman has played at a high level despite his age, currently 37 years old.
“It’s just circumstances like, ‘can I still play?’ That’s my main question. Am I going to be a slug out there or can I still contribute with my teammates? I’ve proven that I can still contribute at a pretty good level,” Bowman said.
Bowman is Montreal’s all-time franchise sack leader with 134 through his 14-year career and could add to the total. The six-foot-three, 250-pounder is one quarterback takedown behind Joe Montford for fifth place on the CFL’s career sack list and 24 away from passing Grover Covington for the No. 1 spot.
“That’s been one of the main determining factors keeping me around but I don’t want to linger into too many decades, all-decade teams,” Bowman said while laughing.
“People are starting to get tired of seeing my face around Montreal. So I want to bow out, and I will gracefully, hopefully on my own terms, but this thing may have forced its way in.”
Bowman has played in 230 games in Canada notching 451 tackles, 134 sacks, 32 forced fumbles, one interception and one defensive touchdown. He is a two-time Grey Cup champion (2009 and 2010) and been named a league all-star twice (2010 and 2015).
“The toughest thing isn’t about football, it’s the next step. With football players, I think, one of the toughest things is getting away from the game. But we’re at a point in time right now, where if I do retire or when I retire, how do I go forward with the next step?” Bowman wondered.
“Because nobody is hiring, people are getting laid off everyday, so how do I jump into the next world? The next phase of my life. Where do I apply to get a job in the middle of pandemic? 25-30 percent of staffs are getting laid off. That’s another part of the situation – nobody is hiring.”
The coronavirus crisis has the possibility to end a Hall of Fame career prematurely.