If veteran defensive lineman John Bowman didn’t play in the CFL again, he wouldn’t regret it

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

COVID-19 has created uncertainty in Canadian Football League circles, including the playing future for veterans such as John Bowman.

The 38-year-old defensive lineman was under contract with the Montreal Alouettes for the 2020 season, but the board of governors voted not to play this year. Bowman’s contract runs out in February 2021.

“It’s a tricky situation, and also I’m going to be a free agent, so that’s not totally up to me. If I didn’t play again, would I regret it? No,” Bowman said on TSN radio 690 in Montreal.

“Nobody would’ve thought I would’ve made it 14 years, so that’s how I look at it. Maybe I’ll try to gear it up, probably won’t, but we’ll see.”

During the 2019 season, Bowman played 16 regular season games, making 45 tackles, eight sacks one forced fumble and one interception. He was named an East Division all-star for his efforts, helping lead an improved Montreal defence. Bowman has played at a high level despite his age, so he’s not ruling out the possibility of playing in 2021.

“We’re just in November,” Bowman said regarding the timeline of making a decision whether to continue playing or retire.

“I’m also on the PA (CFL Players’ Association), so we got phone calls to make and meetings to tend to with the CFL and see what direction they want to go in.”

Bowman has played in 230 career games, making 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 Brooklyn native is the franchise’s all-time sack leader and has considered getting to coaching.

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“I’ve thought about it and I think I have knowledge to give, but I like what A.C. (Anthony Calvillo) did. I guess I’m having my year away from the game now. I want to step away from football for a bit because I’ve been in it since high school,” Bowman said.

“I don’t know if I’m good at doing anything else. I want to get my feet wet in something else and see if I’m good at it or just go on vacation for six months and get away from football for a little while.”