Linebacker NaVorro Bowman, subbed out twice last game to his dismay, could be on his way out of the 49ers.
The 49ers are “shopping” Bowman and teams are interested in acquiring him via trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday.
Bowman did not hide his displeasure after Sunday’s 26-23 overtime loss at Indinapolis, fuming over being subbed out in favor of Brock Coyle for a couple series.
“I don’t know, man,” Bowman said Sunday about coming off the field. “We had a conversation and, uh, I don’t know — they’re doing what they want to do and, I don’t know. I don’t like it. No one likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player.”
Coach Kyle Shanahan claimed after the game Sunday and again Monday the 49ers planned to keep Bowman “fresh” by not having him play all game against the Colts and going forward.
Bowman, an eighth-year veteran, leads the 49ers with 38 tackles in his return from an October 2016 Achilles tear.
Bowman hasn’t spoken with reporters this week, detouring through the players’ lounge Thursday than walking through the locker room during the media access window.
Talk of a potential Bowman trade first surfaced in May, stemming from a report by former NFL executive Mike Lombardi and promptly disputed by the 49ers brass.
“The report that we have been shopping NaVorro Bowman is completely false,” Shanahan and general manager John Lynch responded in May in a joint statement.
The 49ers (0-5) travel Friday afternoon to Washington, Bowman’s hometown.
Bowman, a 2010 third-round draft pick and four-time All-Pro, is the 49ers’ second-longest tenured player behind left tackle Joe Staley.
Bowman hasn’t shown the same agility or speed this season in his second comeback from a left-leg injury in four years. He missed all of the 2014 season recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.
Bowman is making $6.75 million base salary this season as part of a four-year extension he signed last year under former GM Trent Baalke. Bowman’s salary-cap figure next year soars to $12 million.
Even though the 49ers openly explained they don’t want Bowman to be a full-time player in order to preserve him amid long outings, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said Thursday that Bowman would remain a starter once Reuben Foster returns from an ankle injury, which could happen Sunday.
Saleh said of Bowman: “I would expect Bowman to be the most angry human being in the entire world. I would expect nothing else. I would expect him to fight tooth and nail to come off the field and I would expect him to fight tooth and nail to get back on the field.
“That’s why Bowman is a special football player. That’s why he’s been fantastic his entire career,” Saleh added.
Bowman has made 808 regular-season tackles in his No. 53 uniform for the 49ers, and perhaps his most memorable play was an interception return for a touchdown in their final game at Candlestick Park in 2013.
Check back for more on this developing story.
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