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Blast From The Past: Bowman Enjoys Canada

Former Oklahoma State receiver Adarius Bowman has spent his entire professional career playing in Canada, where he led the Canadian Football League with 112 receptions for 1,456 yards and six touchdowns a year ago.

Thanks to ESPN, football north of the border is becoming more visible in the United States. More people are getting used to three downs, 110 yards with a center line, 20-yard end zones, goalposts on the goal line, and a wider field. Visibly at the start of the play seeing multiple players in motion and some moving toward the line of scrimmage with 12 players overall is not so weird anymore.

It hasn't been weird to former Oklahoma State wide receiver Adarius Bowman for the last eight seasons. He was pulled over before the NFL Draft and cited for possession of marijuana. That kind of thing can hurt the start of an NFL career. Bowman opted for Canada and told me in an interview on Wednesday that he hasn't looked back. 

Bowman has been with the Edmonton Eskimos the past five seasons and last year led the CFL with 112 receptions for 1.456 yards and six touchdowns. This season he has 36 catches for 486 yards and three touchdowns after missing the last two weeks with a hip injury suffered in a game at British Columbia.

At Oklahoma State, Bowman played two seasons after transferring from North Carolina and he was the start of a new freakishly athletic style of receiver at Oklahoma State. His off the chart athleticism was followed by Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon, and the current Cowboy in that genre would likely be James Washington.

Catch people up on how life is going for you up in Canada and the CFL?
Bowman: It has been great to me. It's been great and I'm going into my eighth year. I led the league last year and I'm actually fourth right now in the league and we are 5-3 and tied for number one. I'm at Edmonton and this is actually my third team. I started with Saskatchewan and then I played a year and a half at Winnipeg. Now I'm going into my sixth year here and it has been a great life. I've seen a couple of boys from Oklahoma State up here, and there are some still here. Canada has been a great life for me. I love it. We have Toronto this coming Friday and we are really looking forward to it, playing in front of our home fans.

You had one of the really dominant performances in that win over Kansas,  a conference record 300 yards receiving game and it was 11th best all-time in the NCAA. You had great numbers and were a big part of the receiver tradition at Oklahoma State.     
Bowman: Freak time, show time, that is what it was. There were a few big games and we sit around all the time and I'm kind of a veteran up here now so I tell a bunch of younger guys what it was like because they remember me when I played at Oklahoma State. 

How much are you able to keep up with Oklahoma State?
Bpowman: Coach Gundy, that's my guy. I've got a younger brother that plays at the University of Georgia but I'm not able to see all of the games. The broadcasting up here is good, they have ESPN but they will show maybe 30 games and you don't get all the games like you do down there. I always try to watch and I know we have Central Michigan next week, and we play on Saturday, so that should be a good week to catch it. I'm hoping we can see that game or maybe I could see it on the web. 

You could have come back to the U.S. and played in the NFL but you've really adopted Canada and stayed there.
Bowman: It actually was a choice I made. Early in my years there were teams, the Texans and Cincinnati and I had my moments where I definitely could have came back and tried out for a few teams. With me it has always been about football but it has always been about life and growing as a man and growing up. I really identify with the people up here and I was able to establish myself. Wherever I can play I am going to play as hard as I can. Like anything, I loved Oklahoma State when I was there, I loved North Carolina when I was there, and I love Canada. I've adopted to my surroundings and it would be hard for me to walk away from up here because I want to give my best and I enjoy the people I play with and the lifestyle. I don't really go back to the U.S. all that often. 

Your body looks just like it did in college, but don't get mad at me, you've aged in the face.
Bowman: Oh yes, definitely I agree with that. You know I was bigger at Oklahoma State too, maybe 15 pounds bigger (Bowman is now 6-3, 217 pounds). I'm a veteran and I just turned 30 this year. It has been a great career up here and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

You say that you don't get back to the U.S. What about getting back to OSU because it has been awhile since you've been there?
Bowman: I need to get back to Stillwater, just to get back to my school and my fans. It is a place that I loved and I need to get out there. We have a bye week in November and I'll have to make my way down there and check the team out.

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