KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dwayne Bowe finished the Kansas City Chiefs portion of his career first in franchise history among wide receivers in catches and second in receiving yards. But for all the plays he did make, Bowe's career will be better recalled for what he couldn't get done.
Bowe couldn't finish his career with the Chiefs like contemporaries Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali apparently will, because he couldn't take advantage of the golden parachute that was his final Kansas City contract. He couldn't stay in bounds on the biggest play of his career, the fourth-down pass in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs' 2014 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Bowe couldn't finish his career on his terms. He was unceremoniously dumped Wednesday by the Cleveland Browns, who issued a three-sentence release about the move. It's impossible to imagine any team wanting Bowe for next season, certainly not after he caught five passes for the Browns last season.
Bowe couldn't get the most from his ability. He just didn't want it badly enough.
Bowe didn't have the ability to be one of the all-time greats. His first offseason practice with the Chiefs, as their first-round draft pick in 2007, was a festival of dropped passes. He improved his skills in this regard to an extent but never to the point where he was dependable.
He was lazy at times, often reporting for offseason work or training camp out of shape. Then-head coach Todd Haley benched Bowe for a time during training camp in 2009 because of it. Bowe didn't always fight for the ball on slant routes like a 6-foot-2, 220-pound wide receiver should have.
Bowe was still gifted. He had a knack for going up and winning the jump ball, at least early in his career. He was underrated in his ability to run after the catch. He was difficult to bring down in the open field, and it didn't make sense that the Chiefs got away toward the end of his time in Kansas City from the bubble screens that allowed him to showcase this skill.
From a stats perspective, Bowe's career was satisfying enough. In fairness to Bowe, he played with mostly journeymen quarterbacks for the Chiefs, including Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn.
But now that his career is apparently over, we're left to wonder: How did Bowe get there? The good moments and big plays weren't so plentiful as to equal his final bottom line.
That's what made his career and particularly his time in Kansas City so unfulfilling. Bowe left behind one huge season in 2010, precious few other big moments and a lot of unrealized potential.