Lynn Bowden Jr. has never been dealt a fair hand, and that’s something he still had to overcome in 2020–from his days in Youngstown, OH, even up to his rookie season in the NFL.
Aside from his time at Kentucky, Bowden has been counted out, prejudged, and sometimes even straight up disrespected.
In a recent interview with Tyler Dunne, Bowden opened up about his life and primarily his unique rookie season. Drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders in April of 2020, Bowden had all of his dreams laid out in front of him–but in typical Raider fashion, they completely screwed up the Lynn Bowden experiment.
It’s fair to say most Kentucky fans already know about Bowden’s upbringing that brought him to Lexington in 2017. About how Bowden definitely could have fallen to the streets of one of America’s most dangerous cities in Youngstown. About how his son, Lynn III, and his time at Kentucky helped change his life, his relationship with Vince Marrow, and that maturation process that would ensue. Not many folks around the country do, however. In fact, not many people know what Bowden was going through during an unfair rookie season.
Bowden felt like he was under a microscope after the raid at his Grandmother’s house last June, something he thought ruined his career. Trying to escape the image of misconceived image of gangbanger his whole life, Bowden felt like he had yet another hurdle to overcome after the raid in Youngstown nearly a year ago, but the Raiders had no part in getting to know one of college football’s most explosive players.
Bowden finally opened up about the raid in the interview with Dunne.
“Boom! They kick the door in,” Bowden says. “They’ve got the guns in my son’s face because he jumps up scared and runs. There are guns in his face and I’m like, ‘He’s got nothing to do with it!’”
The raid was on. Authorities detained Bowden in handcuffs on the porch, and didn’t find anything beyond Bowden’s registered guns. No drugs. Nothing illegal. He wasn’t arrested, nor charged with any crimes. The damage was done, of course. The second Bowden looked outside, he was shocked to see a horde of news cameras. He says the media was on site right at 7 a.m., thus believes they were tipped off so police could make a show of this all, of him.
After this event, Bowden felt the Raiders skeptically evaluating Bowden, but Bowden still insisted on doing what he could to carve out a path in the league, even if it meant moving to running back. Despite setting numerous rushing records as a quarterback in 2019, Bowden had no business playing running back.
Aside from a few packages in college, he had never played the position. Not to mention, at a smidge under two bills there is no way he could pick up a 300 lb edge rusher. But, in typical Gruden fashion, he had a notion about Bowden and that wasn’t going to change.
Not only did the Raiders mistreat Bowden on the field, but off the field relationships with the Raiders were even worse. For instance, the Raiders never once discussed the raid at Bowden’s grandmother’s house with Bowden. They tried to put Bowden on A.D.H.D. medication, despite Bowden never acting out publicly or privately. Raiders special team coach Rich Bisaccia even got pissed at Bowden for buying his own mother a car.
“He’d say, ‘Yeah, Lynn just bought these cars and he doesn’t even know if he’s on the team,’” Bowden says. “It’s my money. Why wouldn’t I buy my Mom a car? … So, that says a lot about them.”
The final straw obviously came when the Raiders gave up on Bowden in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, trading the third-round pick for chump change.
But, it was the change Bowden needed if he was going to thrive because the Raiders would have done nothing but waste one of the most athletic players in the NFL. However, Raiders GM Mike Mayock coming out and claiming Bowden was a ‘bad influence’ on other rookies was anything but fair.
“One of them was like, ‘They’re trying to slander your name,’” Bowden says. “They knew me! They knew I didn’t come outside. There was nothing about me that was a bad influence. I already knew the spotlight was on me. I knew I was under a MIKE-ROW-SCOPE. So why would I f— it up? Why would I f— it up? I just got raided.”
Much to the chagrin of Bowden, Marrow, and the rest of the BBN, Bowden looked to prove the Raiders’ misconceptions wrong. And he did.
After seeing some late-season action in Miami, Bowden hauled in 27 catches and expects a major jump from year one to year two in the NFL, and that’s something the BBN knows all about.
Bowden is one of the NFL’s true hidden gems, who if given a chance with a star-studded dolphin receiving room, can shine in South Beach.
Check out this truly eye-opening story over at golongtd.com.