Penn State's Bowman closes book on the past

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

In the last 22 months, Navorro Bowman has lost his father and his high school coach.

He has become a father, too, with a 3-month-old son. He has been involved in a campus fight that landed him on probation, and he nearly went to jail in April after admitting to violating that probation by smoking marijuana. He received an additional year of probation.

Somwhere in between, he played 13 phenomenal football games for Penn State.

Bowman had a breakout season for the Nittany Lions last fall, recording 106 tackles, including 16.5 for loss and four sacks. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors despite not starting the first three games.

His football accomplishments have been eclipsed by off-field issues for much of the offseason, but Bowman is thrilled to be getting back to business between the lines.

"I always miss it," Bowman told me last week. "I'm ready to get back out here and get some contact back in my life."

Bowman is looking forward after the tumultuous offseason, saying "it's called the past for a reason." His immediate goals are to graduate from Penn State, which fulfills a promise to his mother, and continue his production on the field.

But he also wants to repair his reputation.

"It's important for me to uphold my name and show the people who I really am and not what the negativity brings with my name," he said. "I'm just trying to erase all the negativity."

Bowman will wear the "double sticks." or No. 11, for Penn State this fall, the same jersey worn by former Lions star linebacker LaVar Arrington, a close friend of Bowman's. The junior can't wait to play alongside Sean Lee, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

After the events of the last 22 months, Bowman appreciates the game a lot more.

"I realize that it can be taken away and I don't want it to get taken away," Bowman said. "I'm glad God gave me another chance, and I'm happy to be back."