As the Packers and 49ers played their NFC wild-card game on the (literally) “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, a few hearty or foolishly macho players — depending on who you talk to — chose not to wear sleeves as temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit. One of those players was former 2004 First-Team All-Met linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who played at Suitland. Bowman made 163 tackles for a dominant Rams defense in his All-Met campaign, leading the Suitland to the 4A championship as the heart of a defense that allowed 13 total points in four playoff games. He also rushed for 1,238 yards and 13 touchdowns that season.
Now, Bowman is the heart of San Francisco’s defense, which will travel to Carolina for a divisional round showdown with the Panthers Sunday. Bowman led the 49ers with 145 tackles (120 solo) during the regular season, registered five sacks and forced four fumbles. The 6-0, 242-pound Penn State product recorded 10 tackles and forced a fumble in San Francisco’s 23-20 last-second win over Green Bay.
Whether or not Bowman could have registered similar numbers while warmed by long sleeves is unclear, though perhaps the biting cold gave him an edge. Regardless, Bowman continues to make those in his hometown of District Heights, Md., proud. When the 49ers were in town to play the Redskins in late November, Bowman stopped by his alma mater and was honored at halftime of Suitland’s 18-17 playoff win against DuVal. In his speech of gratitude, Bowman credited his late high school coach Nick Lynch and the Suitland community, and urged aspiring NFLers to do things the right way as they chased their dreams. After the game, Bowman spoke to the current Rams in a tightly-packed huddle. It should be noted that on that brisk, late-fall day, Bowman’s leather jacket was zipped tightly.