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San Francisco 49ers ILB NaVorro Bowman met with the media following the team's Thursday practice and a day after signing a four-year extension worth $44 million.
Bowman stated that the team and his agent were going back and forth regarding his contract for about a month. He went on to thank the organization for believing that he is worthy of the new contract.
He was asked if there was ever any point in the offseason when he considered holding out for a new contract. Bowman stated that holding out was never an option for him. "It's not a good look for the player or the organization and I never wanted to put that on them or make it seem like I wasn't a team player," answered Bowman. "I still wanted to come here and put the work in just like every other player and hopefully both sides would come to a mutual agreement and it worked out. A lot of guys do hold out and try to manipulate the situation, but I think the smartest way is the way I did it."
"My heart is here. It's been here for the last six years," continued Bowman. He stated that he believes that the organization is getting better players to play in front of him and that the future is looking bright for the 49ers. "We do have young guys that could potentially be superstars in this league also."
Bowman's new contract keeps him with the 49ers through 2022. He was asked if he thinks about retirement. "I definitely want to play to 10 (years)," said Bowman. "My next goal is to be a Hall of Famer and I feel like 10 years is good enough to get into that. If I'm feeling like playing after that, then I will do so. You never want to leave any money on the table but you definitely want to leave this game being able to walk."
Bowman continued by saying, "Just glad to be locked in and be able to finish my career as a 49er."
Bowman stated that his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the organization were at the team's facility on Monday for about 13 hours just going back-and-forth working on a deal. Bowman understood that redoing a deal when you have three years left on your current one is not the norm. For his second deal with the team, Bowman was willing to take less money out of respect for then-teammate Patrick Willis because he had been there longer. "This was his team at the time and I've accomplished a lot from that time and made the huge accolades that a linebacker can make," said Bowman. "For me asking for the deal, they understood why ... It just shows how good of an organization they are and honorable to their players and the work that I put in."
"I'm starting to feel like myself. Like I did in 2013," said Bowman when talking about what he has done since returning from injury.
Bowman feels that this is a good example for his teammates. "I have had several teammates walk up to me and say this is motivation for them," he said. That keeps motivating Bowman and he feels that it is a win-win situation for everyone.
"Being able to stay with one team your whole career is not really a norm," said Bowman. "For me to do these things just means a lot. It shows the type of place this is, the type of people we have around here. When you do things to make the organization look good, they appreciate you. It just means a lot to me knowing that I will be here to finish my career and be a 49er for life."