49ers cut NaVorro Bowman after he asks them to

The San Francisco 49ers have announced the release of starting middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman just hours after reportedly shopping him around the league in hopes for a trade.

According to Adam Schefter of of ESPN, several teams were interested in picking up the four-time All-Pro linebacker:

General manager of the 49ers, John Lynch, confirmed the report during a press conference held in Washington and said that he, head coach Kyle Shanahan and Bowman held a meeting after Thursday’s practice to discuss Bowman’s future with the team:

“Yesterday, Kyle and I had the opportunity to sit down with NaVorro Bowman and discuss some things after practice. Since them we’ve been working in ernest to find a trade partner. We talked in length with NaVorro about the direction each party wanted to go in.”

Lynch continued:

“We had a couple of teams that were very interested. (We) came very close to happening. Ultimately, we were working with NaVorro and his representation through [Drew] Rosenhaus to try to get this thing across the finish line.”

Despite efforts to find a suitable trade to move Bowman, the team ultimately decided to  release him from the organization all together after the eight-year veteran requested to be cut.

Lynch explained the decision to honor Bowman’s request to be released:

“We felt like he had earned the right to have some options and some choices that he deemed to be the right ones for him. In the end he chose that he’d rather look at all 31 teams and we granted his request there.”

According to Lynch, the process to get move away from Bowman started last Sunday after the 49ers lost another closely-contested game in overtime against the Indianapolis Colts.

Late in the second quarter of the game, Bowman was benched during a crucial red zone stand in which defensive coordinator Robert Saleh decided send Brock Coyle out in his place.

Following the loss, Bowman spoke publicly about his displeasure regarding his role in the new defensive scheme:

“We had a conversation, and I don’t know. They’re doing what they want to do. I don’t know. I don’t like it. No one likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player.”

After his comments, the team clearly made haste to get the ball rolling in order to get Bowman out.

Beginning his career in 2010 as the 49ers third round draft pick, Bowman initially looked to possess the tools and skills to be the team’s next star defensive player.

Starting next to 49ers legendary linebacker, Patrick Willis, a young Bowman caught on to the nuances of being in the NFL.

He would rack up four All-Pro honors and be selected to the Pro-Bowl three times. In 2014, Bowman’s ascension to becoming the league’s most skilled linebacker was derailed thanks to an ugly knee injury in the NFC Championship game in Seattle.

After missing the entirety of the next season in 2014, Bowman came back to lead the league in tackles (152) in 2015 only to injure his achilles in 2016.

Without Bowman on the roster, the 49ers will now be very reliant on a young linebacking corps with rookie first rounder Reuben Foster taking the reins. Along with five-year veteran Ray-Ray Armstrong, San Francisco will have a much more youthful look behind their already dominant defensive line.