TAMPA — On Wednesday, just hours ahead of the start of training camp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht issued a challenge to beleaguered defensive end Da’Quan Bowers.
This morning, just minutes ahead of the official start of camp, Bowers answered the challenge — verbally, at least.
Admitting that he has failed to live up to his potential or status as a second-round draft pick, Bowers said he is confident he is in store for what could be a breakout season in 2014.
“I owe it to this organization; I owe it to this team,’’ Bowers said. “I’ve been here long enough and haven’t really been that player that I know I can be. So I think it’s about time I really put forth the effort to be that player I know I’m capable of being.’’
That in essence was the challenge issued to Bowers by Licht, who said Wednesday that Bowers needs to “prove that he wants to make an impact with this football team,’’ during training camp.
Bowers, who has often been slowed by injuries, including a knee problem that required offseason surgery and cost him time on the field during offseason workouts, said he believes he’s more ready than ever to do that.
“This is the best I’ve felt coming into camp,’’ Bowers said. “This has been my most consistent offseason since I’ve been a part of this organization, so I’m excited. I’m excited about the new staff, about actually being able to put on pads and for a new year. I’ve put in the work and I’m ready to reap the benefits.’’