The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, particularly Mark Dominik, have spent this offseason praising Da’Quan Bowers, mentioning him as someone they plan to feature in 2013. The former Clemson standout was Jadeveon Clowney before Jadeveon Clowney, but injuries pushed him down the draft board. The Buccaneers took him with hopes he would overcome his injury and produce for them, even if his career was ultimately shortened by the condition of his knees. So when he was arrested and faced felony gun charges earlier this offseason, it was worrisome for a team that was losing Michael Bennett, and returning only an injured Adrian Clayborn. Bowers had to be healthy for 2013 for the Buccaneers’ offseason plan to work.
Luckily, Bowers wound up on the right side of the law in this instance, and will not face prison time. A judge reduced his charges, and Bowers will only pay a fine for disorderly conduct, rather than face prison time or probation. Dennis Coppin, Bowers’ lawyer, had this to say to USA Today:
“(Da’Quan is) very happy, and honestly the Queens County District Attorney’s office investigated the case thoroughly and he was honest when he had the gun. He turned it over to the first gate agent he saw. He did the right thing, and they did the right thing in their investigation.”
Coppin was confident from the start that Bowers would be exonerated, and considering the judge reduced the charges so drastically, it seems his confidence was not misplaced.
It is now up to Roger Goodell to decide if Bowers is worthy of punishment. It is well within the rights of the NFL’s commissioner to suspend Da’Quan, so it will be interesting to see if the league takes any action. The good news is that a lengthy prison sentence has been avoided, and Bowers is going to play for the Buccaneers in 2013 as a free man.
Just like Bowers’ lawyer was correct in having faith his client would be exonerated, let’s hope Mark Dominik’s faith in Bowers isn’t misplaced or misguided.