Ninety-nine days before the start of the 2016 regular season, defensive end Stephen Bowen announced his retirement from the National Football League.
Bowen, 32, played his college ball at Hofstra University before going undrafted in 2006. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to the practice squad and he would go on to spend five seasons in the Lone Star State.
Then, the defensive lineman cashed in by signing a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Redskins prior to the 2011 season. Unfortunately, his career was derailed by multiple knee injuries that required both arthroscopic and microfracture surgeries on separate occasions.
The one time undrafted free agent finished his playing career with the New York Jets last season.
By signing a one-day contract with the Redskins and announcing his retirement, Bowen finished his career with 128 games (57 starts), 175 tackles, 12.5 sacks, and 9 passes defended over a ten year span.
Bowen won the Ed Block Courage Award in 2011, his first year as a part of the Redskins organization. That season was a difficult time in Bowen's life as he lost both his son and mother-in-law.
“When I came to the Redskins in 2011, it was a difficult time for my family and I," Bown started. "I had just lost my son, Skylar, and my mother-in-law, Muriel passed away a few months after that. However, it was the embrace of the Redskins’ family that gave me comfort. This immediately felt like home and I was able to shine here. This is a world-class organization made up of world-class people."
Baker took the opportunity to publically thank Bowen for everything he has done for his own budding career.
“It’s not really a question, but I just want to say thanks, Bo," Baker explained. "You [were] one of the guys when I came in on the practice squad, and you [were] a guy I looked up to. You [were] one of the guys who always believed in me and told me, ‘One day you’re going to be in my shoes.’ And, I really took that advice and just watched you and Barry [Cofield] as professionals and husbands and the way you guys act. It has really taught me and I owe a lot to you guys for the player that I am today. So, I just want to say thank you for always being my friend and a role model to me, man. Thank you. I appreciate it.”
Bowen concluded his opening statement the way you would think a true Washington Redskin would, “I always felt like this was home, and even though I’m retiring today, I will forever be a Washington Redskin. HTTR, thank you.”
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