Lynn Bowden Jr., the intriguing Miami Dolphins rookie who joined the team via trade before the 2020 season even began, has already learned a valuable lesson in the NFL.
“The NFL is a business. It’s a business first. Feelings come last. I learned that quick, fast, in a hurry, even before the trade,” Bowden said this week of the move the saw the third-round pick join the Dolphins after his training camp stint with the Las Vegas Raiders.
“There’s nothing I can really do about it. I’m here. I’m in Miami. We’re making the best of it. We’re having fun. I feel like as a team, we’re good right now.”
How Bowden, one of the most dynamic players in college football at Kentucky, became available for the Dolphins to snag him before he even played an NFL down is quite the mystery.
Bowden reportedly had a lackluster training camp, one which saw the Raiders try to play him as a running back, although he mostly excelled as a receiver in college.
There was also word that Bowden was “more concerned with picking up new cars than the playbook” and he could be a poor influence on fellow Raiders rookies, according to a report from The Athletic.
Bowden also found himself entangled in law enforcement activity in June when Drug Enforcement Agency agents, U.S. Marshals and police in Youngstown, Ohio executed a search warrant at the home of a relative he and his son were staying with. No arrests were made, and no charges were filed following the search.
After a tumultuous start to his NFL career, Bowden is happy to have an opportunity to show what he is capable of on the field for the Dolphins.
“People are going to talk the way they talk. Like I said, the past is the past. It’s not something I’m thinking about. It’s not something I’m worried about,” Bowden said of the reports that followed him after the trade.
“I’m in a better place, just with myself. I’m happy where I’m at. I’m getting a shot to do what I love to do, and I’m just going to keep going forward.”
Bowden has touched the football twice in the eight snaps he has played over the past two weeks. He has a catch for a loss of a yard, and a 5-yard run in the Wildcat formation he thrived in at Kentucky.
And the Dolphins would surely like to get their playmaking rookie involved in the offense.
Bowden won the Paul Hornung Award for the nation’s most versatile player as a junior in 2019 after finishing in the top five nationally in all-purpose yards.
He led his team in rushing with 1,468 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns, and in receiving with 30 catches for 348 yards and a touchdown. He returned four punts for 53 yards (13.2 yards per return) and nine kickoffs for 220 yards (24.4 yards per return).
The 5-foot-11, 204-pound Bowden even played quarterback, although he was not asked to pass much, completing only 35 of 74 attempts for 403 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Still, he boasted a 6-2 record as a starting quarterback.
And all it took for the Dolphins to acquire him and a 2021 sixth-round pick from the Raiders on Sept. 5 was to send back the 2021 fourth-round pick they acquired from Las Vegas for former linebacker Raekwon McMillan a week before.
“I’m not too big on talking about myself,” Bowden said. “I like to let the game play [speak] for itself; but if I had to choose [what I do best], just having the ball in my hands probably.”
With Bowden in tow, the Dolphins have six of the top 80 players selected in the 2020 NFL draft following their picks of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, left tackle Austin Jackson and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene in the first round, offensive tackle Robert Hunt and defensive tackle Raekwon Davis in the second round and safety Brandon Jones in the third round.
The Dolphins hope Bowden, along with their other infusions of young talent, can make an positive impact in Miami’s extensive rebuilding process.
“I’m wherever the coach needs me — whether that’s offense, special teams. I’m right by him, just doing whatever I need to do to get out there, whatever coach has in store for me,” Bowden said.
“I’m still learning. I’m a rookie so there’s a lot of ways I’ve got to learn and follow behind, and that’s what I’m going to do with my head down.”
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