After tearing an Achilles tendon in May, Bowers has been on the physically unable to perform list. But he’s eligible to begin practicing this week, and coach Greg Schiano made it sound like Bowers will start getting a look Wednesday.
“We need to see how he responds to doing that and then we will act accordingly,’’ Schiano told the media Monday. “As I said, if there is any question, we are going to wait. We are not going to put him in harm’s way. He is excited to play. He is chomping at the bits. We got to hold him back until we know it is all good.”
It would be wise to be cautious, because Bowers is coming back fast after a serious injury. Once he begins practicing, the Bucs have a three-week window in which to decide if they want to activate him or shut him down for the season.
If Bowers is healthy enough to return, it could be a huge boost for the defensive line. Bowers was expected to start at defensive end along with fellow second-year player Adrian Clayborn. But, after Bowers' injury, Michael Bennett took over the starting job.
Bennett has played well, but the Bucs lost Clayborn to a season-ending injury.
The Bucs have been using Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in Clayborn’s place, with George Johnson as the third defensive end. Even if Bowers comes back as only a part-time player this season, he could make a big impact as a situational pass-rusher.