Dec 23, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) prevents the pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas (83) caught by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) for an interception touchdown during the fourth quarter of the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

NaVorro Bowman Tells SportsCenter He Expects To Be Back With San Francisco 49ers By Midseason

San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who sustained torn ligaments in his knee during the NFC Championship in January, told ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday he expects to be back with the team by the “middle of the season.”

Bowman said he’s “feeling good” and says he has motivation to come back as good as before—specifically when it comes to winning the Defensive Player of the Year award.

“I’m going to come back and (win the award,” Bowman said. “I thought I should have won it last year, but last year is gone. But it has put some more fire in my body.”

Bowman was hurt on a play that wound up inspiring a rule change at last month’s owners meetings. Replays made it clear Bowman had stripped the ball from Seattle wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and recovered the ball, but that was not a reviewable play. Recovery of a loose ball in the field of play is now reviewable.

Bowman made it clear he greatly respects Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, who was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, but Bowman not winning the award was a surprise, particularly the fact he didn’t receive any votes in the Associated Press balloting for the honor.

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