SANTA CLARA -– The remarkable return of NaVorro Bowman from a potential career-ending knee injury 2 ½ years ago took another positive turn on Wednesday evening.
Bowman and the organization agreed to a contract extension through the 2022 season, a source told CSNBayArea.com. The 49ers later announced Bowman officially signed the extension.
“Over the last six years, NaVorro has become a cornerstone of our organization and securing his future in the Bay Area was a priority for us,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “The perseverance he displayed while overcoming adversity and returning to his All-Pro form provides a great example of what can be accomplished through hard work and self-belief. This contract extension reaffirms our core philosophy of rewarding our own players and we are thrilled to know NaVorro will play his entire career with the 49ers.”
Bowman's four-year extension was added to the three remaining years of his contract. Bowman is scheduled to earn $11 million annually for the seven remaining seasons on his contract, Pro Football Talk reported.
Bowman and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, were seen Monday walking upstairs to an office that overlooks the practice field after Bowman completed a workout in the weight room.
One day earlier, general manager Trent Baalke told reporters that the club had some potential deals in the works. The 49ers entered the day with $48.7 million in salary-cap space, according to the NFLPA.
Bowman's family was at the 49ers offices on Wednesday for the signing of the contract.
“I want to thank Jed, the York family and Trent for giving me the opportunity to continue my career where my heart is,” Bowman said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work that Drew and Paraag put in to getting this deal done. My teammates and coaches have meant so much to me throughout my career and I thank them for helping me become the player I am today. The support I’ve received from my family and friends throughout my life, especially through the adversity of the past few years, has meant so much to me. I can’t wait for the season to start and play in front of the best fans in the NFL.”
Bowman, 28, enters his sixth NFL season, feeling optimistic about getting even closer to the level at which he played prior to his devastating knee injury. On a team with a lot of young players on both sides of the ball, Bowman is considered one of the top leaders on and off the field.
Bowman sustained a grisly knee injury in the NFC Championship game in Seattle in January 2014. He sustained a torn left ACL, as well as damage to two other ligaments and his meniscus cartilage.
After sitting out the entire 2014 season, Bowman returned to action last season. Although he was clearly not all the way back to his pre-injury form, Bowman still managed to lead the NFL with 154 tackles. He was also chosen first-team All-Pro for the fourth time in his career, as well as being selected to his third Pro Bowl.
“I’m not too worried about the knee,” Bowman said on Saturday. “The knee feels great, but I’m still staying on it, so that anything that could hold me back won’t come up.
“I’m just excited to have another year and improve on the year I had last year and prove the doubters wrong, and get back to the level I was at and get the respect I deserve.”
Bowman, a third-round draft pick in 2010, signed a contract extension with the 49ers in 2012 that ran through the 2018 season. Bowman had three years and $23.55 million in salary and bonuses remaining on the deal before agreeing to his new contract.