Part of the fun of forming an opinion on a free-agency transaction is the detective work and discovery that goes hand in hand with it.
Last week, the Free Press reported that Marcellus Bowman had surgery less than a week ago and was facing, "months and months" of recovery time. According to what was said by Joe Mack during a conference call that day, due to the extent and severity of his injury, Bowman would be lucky to be receiving a contract at all, yet, because of his performance and character displayed while with the Bombers, he was going to be offered a subsistence deal to keep him part of the team.
This is where it gets interesting. Lo and behold, on the third day of free agency, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats stepped up and signed him to a new deal, knee surgery or not, which gives us several possibilities about what has actually transpired here:
1. There is a difference in opinion between the Bombers doctors and the Hamilton physicians in terms of the severity and recoverability of the injury. The Ticats staff thought it to be a much less severe problem than the Winnipeg crew, so they signed him to a new contract.
2. Both sets of team doctors agree on the severity of the injury and rehabilitation time, the Ticats thought Bowman was worth the risk and a roll of the dice, and are gambling on his full recovery.
3. The severity of the surgery was overstated by Mack, so he could bluff away any potential interest in Bowman, thereby eliminating any leverage he may have had in free agency, and could henceforth sign him to a minimum salary contract.
4. Mack simply has an aversion to linebackers or players with a history of multiple injuries -- see Joe Loebendahn -- which is not necessarily a bad trait for a GM to have though this is the first knee surgery Bowman has had in his career.
So that was my veiled attempt at giving you a balanced and researched opinion, in light of the fact that possibilities No. 1 and 2 are not what happened here. Take my word on it.
What happened with Bowman is either option 3 or 4, or both. All you have to do is decide how much of which.
This is how I know it is not option No. 1 or 2.
While for the life of me I could not get Bowman to reveal what his operation was, I did discover that his knee injury is not as serious as an ACL tear. If you need a point of reference for an ACL tear, it's what Adrian Peterson had, the all-star running back for the Minnesota Vikings. The same running back who had reconstructive surgery on his knee and won the MVP and offensive player of the year for the NFL in 2012.
Now, nobody is saying Bowman has the recovery powers of Peterson, and nobody is saying that Peterson's results were atypical. But if Adrian could recover to the point where his knee operated better than it had before, and Bowman has an injury of a lesser degree, I would probably hedge my bets on him too.
In time, all will be revealed, as to what his injury was, and whether he will go on to be an impact player and physical force in Hamilton like he was in Winnipeg.
Due to the timing of his surgery, his full participation in training camp is highly unlikely, no matter what the procedure was. And while I've never had surgery before, I do know from my prior environment, that there are no certainties or guarantees about any recovery.
That being said, I hope this is simply a case of a GM who shies away from players with histories of injuries, and not one who overstated Bowman's condition to limit his free-agency options.
Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays and game days in the Free Press.