ShareThis Page
Penn State

Penn State's linebackers embrace Manny Bowen's return

| Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, 2:03 p.m.
Penn State's Manny Bowen (hits Michigan's Karan Higdon as he scores a touchdown during the first half Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Bowen was dismissed from the team Tuesday.
Penn State's Manny Bowen (hits Michigan's Karan Higdon as he scores a touchdown during the first half Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Bowen was dismissed from the team Tuesday.

Defensive coordinator Brent Pry folded his hands Saturday afternoon and told a roomful of reporters that he wasn’t sure what role linebacker Manny Bowen would play on this team.

But whether he’s playing, starting or benched, Bowen’s teammates didn’t much seem to care. They all echoed the same sentiment: After the linebacker was kicked off the team in December, they’re glad to have him back.

“That’s one of our brothers,” redshirt senior linebacker Koa Farmer said. “He did a lot of things to get to where he is now. He worked hard.

“I don’t know if you guys know what he did, but it’s pretty amazing what he had to do to come back here. And for him to do that, it’s big-time. It shows how important we are for him.”

Bowen was suspended for the Rose Bowl during the 2016 season and then kicked off the team this past December following a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. James Franklin never discussed specifics, although the suspension was reportedly related to academics.

On Saturday, minutes before the start of the Nittany Lions’ annual media day, official rosters were handed out that showed Bowen had returned to the team. Franklin said Bowen had reached a number of “stipulations” that led to his return.

The senior linebacker, who is set to graduate in December, practiced Friday for the first time since last season. Bowen missed the entire spring, but teammates said he barely skipped a beat in camp.

“It’s like he never left, like he never left,” Farmer repeated.

Added fellow linebacker Jan Johnson: “He’s a great kid, and he’s going to bring a lot of value to our team this year.”

Bowen has played in 35 career games and started in 21. With an LB corps lacking in experience, his addition is a big one for the Nittany Lions. No one has played in, or started, more games at linebacker than Bowen.

Still, the Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator intimated he was no shoo-in to see a lot of playing time.

Pry praised the way he’s already resumed mentoring the younger players despite “not knowing what his role will be.” Pry also said, “In my mind, I’m not planning on Manny Bowen right now.”

Redshirt freshman linebacker Ellis Brooks said he’s already been able to pick Bowen’s brain, not just about the defense but about playing faster in general — whether it’s how to take on a block or what angle to attack from. In a way, Brooks said, it’s like talking to vocal leader Jason Cabinda, who now plays for the Oakland Raiders.

“He brings experience to the table,” Brooks said. “Definitely. Insight — game insight — he knows Coach Pry’s defense and what he’s looking for.”

Cam Brown, a junior linebacker and projected starter, said he’s already used Bowen as a resource.

“It definitely adds a new set of eyes, an older set of eyes,” Brown said. “He sees what some of us haven’t seen yet, and he knows how to adjust to certain things.”

Added Johnson: “When he talks, you listen because he’s been in the game. … You have to listen to what he says.”

Franklin insisted that Bowen’s return had nothing to do with the position that Bowen plays or the needs the Nittany Lions have. Like Pry, he also said he‘s not sure what role Bowen will have on the field.

But regardless of what happens, or what outside criticism comes the Nittany Lions’ way, Bowen’s teammates are glad his time away from the team was only temporary.

“It’s great to have him back,” Brown said. “We’re happy to see him around; we’re happy to have him around.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me