2024 CFL Draft profiles: Western DB Lourenz Bowers-Kane banking on NFL bloodlines to take him to next level

Photo courtesy: Western Athletics

Despite Randy Ambrosie’s best efforts, Halifax is not yet the crown jewel of the Canadian Football League. But the lack of its own franchise has never stopped the Nova Scotia capital from being a producer of top talent.

Few understand that more intimately than Lourenz Bowers-Kane. As the Western defensive back prepares for his journey into professional football, he is standing on the shoulders of the last generation of his family to accomplish the feat.

“I come from a very strong bloodline. This isn’t something that has never happened before, my family has been through these challenges and they did it at the highest level,” he told 3DownNation in an interview earlier this offseason. “That blood runs through my body. I always say I’m going to shock the world and that’s what I plan on doing.”

Though the family is most strongly associated with NHL star Evander Kane these days, three of Lourenz’s cousins strapped on the pads long before he ever did. Receivers Tommy Kane and Tyrone Williams both had extended stints in the NFL, while defensive back Dwayne Provo stayed home and enjoyed an eight-year CFL career.

Like many from Nova Scotia’s historically Black communities, the family has spread themselves all across the country over the last several decades. However, the spiritual roots remain in the areas of Preston and Dartmouth where Bowers-Kane grew up. That left big shoes for the youngest member of the family to step into, something that was made clear to him when he first enrolled in football at the age of eight.

“My father sat down with me and he said, ‘Son, are you ready for this?’ I looked at him and I said, ‘I’m ready,'” Bowers-Kane recalled. “I accepted anything that came with it. I knew that it may be hard, it may get tough, but it’s something that I’m willing to carry on my back.”

Helping to ease the burden of that hefty legacy was his cousin Tommy Kane. The 60-year-old native of Montreal was a third-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in the 1988 NFL Draft after a successful collegiate tenure at Syracuse University, catching 142 passes for 2,034 yards and nine touchdowns over five years with the team.

Kane’s career was marred by injuries and ended after a brief stint with the Toronto Argonauts in 1994. His post-football life is considered by most to be a cautionary tale, as his struggle with drug addiction culminated in the stabbing death of his wife, Tammara Shaikh, in 2003. The former star pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 years in prison, though he was eventually paroled in 2016.

While the public will always view Kane through the lens of his crime, his young cousin sees him very differently.

“He taught me all the ins and outs, taught me that it takes a lot of hard work, taught me about the mental side of things, staying positive, staying strong and knowing that all the hard work will pay off,” Bower-Kane said.

“He really took me under his wing and was like another father figure to me. You couldn’t ask for a better role model that played at the highest level for five years in a row.”

Despite his close connection to Kane, the youngster relied on the reputation of another family member when making his decision on where to go to school. His father, now a police officer in Toronto, suggested a move to Ontario might be the best fit and the powerhouse Western Mustangs were more than happy to add anyone with genetic ties to their own legendary receiver, Tyrone Williams.

A two-time All-Canadian during his time in London, Williams was the first Canadian university product to ever be invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl all-star game and was drafted in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL Draft. Though he appeared in just five career NFL games, making one catch for 25 yards, the six-foot-five target bounced around for the league for parts of five seasons, while also spending a year each with the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts.  A two-time Super Bowl winner while on the inactive list of the Dallas Cowboys, he remains the only player to win a championship in U Sports, the NFL, and the CFL.

Though he’s never actually laid eyes on those title rings, Bowers-Kane was very aware of his cousin’s reputation. He also knew the impressive regularity with which Western has produced professional talent, which made earning a spot on the team all the more meaningful.

“Their track record speaks for itself. They’re a program that knows how to win,” he said, having contributed to his own Vanier Cup victory in 2021.

“It shows you how much closer you are getting to your own goals. When you’re playing on that defence and you see all these people that have left to play pro, you kind of get that sense that this is starting to get real.”

While he may not be regarded in the same tier as Williams quite yet, Bowers-Kane carved out his own legacy under the tutelage of head coach Greg Marshall. Playing primarily the strongside linebacker position, he racked up 146 total tackles, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown in 30 career games. 2023 was the finest of his three seasons, earning him second-team All-Canadian honours.

The five-foot-10, 200-pound defender will be an interesting evaluation for CFL scouts. Few Canadian SAMs have earned starting roles at the next level and there are questions about his range if he is forced to move to safety. Bowers-Kane believes he can break the mould as a true strongside linebacker, with his unique genetic profile carrying substantially more weight than his average frame.

“That speed is mandatory and I’ve got the God-given ability to play sideline-to-sideline. I’ve played in the box my whole life, so I know how to read the box at a fast pace or roll high to play coverage,” he insisted. “I was blessed with the opportunity and tools to be able to play wherever they need to put me and I pride myself on that.”

This offseason has been a mission to prove he deserves a spot in the family business. In January, he took part in the College Gridiron Showcase all-star game in Texas to test his mettle against NCAA competition. On March 18, he participated in the Syracuse pro day, taking advantage of his cousin’s alma mater to get a rare shot in front of NFL scouts. Up next is the CFL Combine in Winnipeg, where he’ll have a chance to cement his stock north of the border.

Unlike many young Canadian recruits, Bowers-Kane never felt the need to use an American prep school as a launch pad for better opportunities. He feels the same way now as a U Sports player breaking into the professional ranks. If family history has taught him anything, it’s that greatness can come from anywhere.

“You can’t deny the undeniable. It doesn’t matter where you go, they’ll find you,” he said. “If you put yourself out there and do the things that are necessary to get to those milestones, they’ll find you.”

The 2024 CFL Draft is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.