March 2, 2018

BLOG | Adarius Bowman – Then and Now

Edmonton Eskimos SB Adarius Bowman celebrates his TD against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during fourth quarter CFL West Division semifinal playoff action in Winnipeg on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (CFL PHOTO - Jason Halstead)

Nine years ago is a long time in anybody’s memory, let alone in the world of sports, where people come and go so often we barely blink an eye.

Nine seasons ago, we had a young receiver with seemingly endless talent in Adarius Bowman. Over the course of two seasons he showed flashes of brilliance, but there was a lot more going on behind the public facade. Although we got along very well for the most part, he was, at times, very difficult to deal with. Coming from a massive collegiate career at Oklahoma State where at one point, he was being pegged as a first-round NFL draft choice, AD had a chip on his shoulder and, to be blunt, at times a very poor attitude.

When he wanted to be, he was infectious. A smile that lit up the room and when he was interested, a player that was almost unstoppable. As I mentioned, my dealings with him were for the most part positive, but I can remember a few situations where a simple ask like doing a media interview was answered with; “I don’t have to do that, D.”

Well in fact, as a professional athlete, obligations include a variety of commitments off the field, one of which being speaking with the media.

So yes, you do, man. Get up please.

Winnipeg Blue Bomber Jovon Johnson (2) is congratulated by Adarius Bowman (12) after his touchdown during second half CFL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, July 24, 2010. (CFL PHOTO – MARIANNE HELM)

By the time we he was released in 2011 after similar such issues continued to occur, quite honestly I thought we had seen the last of him, not just in Winnipeg but in the CFL. We said our goodbyes that afternoon in the old locker room at Canad Inns, and off he went.

Over the next seven seasons, we would chat briefly when we ran into each other before games or at various league events. As we all saw, after landing in Edmonton his career took off.

But almost more so than his unquestionable growth as a player, the person Adarius Bowman has become is even more remarkable. He is a leader, a mentor, a soon-to-be father, an all-around matured individual loved by his teammates and the community alike. AD is, for lack of a better term, a really good guy. The type of guy you love to have in the locker room.

A pillar in the community of Edmonton, Adarius launched the non-profit corporation, Adarius 4 Autism, in January 2017, with the goal of empowering youth living with Autism Spectrum Disorder through literacy, training, advocacy, research, awareness and acceptance. The idea started back in 2009 when Adarius was still playing in Winnipeg with former teammate and Bomber, Brock Ralph, whose eldest daughter is autistic. He developed a special bond with her and wanted to make a difference for children living with autism. What he has achieved already is remarkable.



When AD was released February 5th, I sent him a text wondering what his next move would be. He didn’t skip a beat, immediately making it clear to me – and to our organization – that he wanted to be here. As an agreement was worked out over the course of the next few days, he would send me messages saying he was hoping today would be the day things fell into place.

On Thursday evening, February 8th, I got a text that read, “I’m a Blue Bomber!!”.

When he arrived in Winnipeg the next morning, he was absolutely beaming. Never have I seen excitement from a player as I saw in him that morning. Ever. He thanked everyone he came across at the stadium, smiling from ear to ear. He thanked fans. He thanked the media. He drew himself into the team picture at an autograph signing – a stick figure with a giant smile. He couldn’t be happier.

We got significantly better that day, not only as a team, but as an organization and as the Blue Bomber family. To see how grateful and appreciative he was to be here, how all along he only ever wanted to be a Blue Bomber again, was a good feeling for the organization and should be a great feeling for our fans.

After his press conference was over and he was back at the hotel that afternoon, he sent me this: “Darren, have you seen the social media of little Olivia that cried once Edmonton released me? I want to get a jersey or something Blue Bombers for her. We do that?”



That is the type of person we acquired on February 9th. The type of player we can’t wait to see on display this season, and the type of person fans already love.

Welcome back, AD.