Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Bo Bowling is continuing on the road back from drug charges in the Canadian Football League. The Tonkawa native is a rookie on the Montreal Aloutettes' training camp roster.
"I've made mistakes, stuff I regret. But it has made me a better person," Bowling told the Montreal Gazette.
In February 2009, Bowling was charged with three felony counts of drug possession — one of the drugs was an anabolic steroid — and was suspended from the team. The charges eventually were dropped to where Bowling only faced misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Bowling was given a one-year deferred sentence and spent 15 days in Payne County jail. He was ordered to complete 25 hours of community service and pay $750 in fees and court costs.
He has called the ordeal embarrassing and said he's ashamed. He denies ever taking steroids.
"That was somewhere I never want to be and never will be. I won't go back to where I was," Bowling told The Gazette on Monday. "I didn't know steroids were in my house. I admit to possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
"A lot was written that wasn't true, but I put myself in the situation," added Bowling, 23. "I know the person I am."
Suspended the entire 2009 season, Bowling lost his scholarship before summoning the courage to approach Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy about being reinstated. Gundy agreed, after approaching the school's athletic director.
Montreal general manager Jim Popp said he views Bowling as a receiver who was tough, ran good routes and did most things correctly.
"They handled all that cleanly,” Popp told the Montreal Gazette. “They disciplined him harder than most schools would have. He lost his scholarship and had to pay to go to school, working his way back. He had to work back into the school's good graces, but they speak highly of him.
"Stuff like that sometimes happens with young people. What's actual and factual, I don't know. But OSU speaks extremely highly of him."
Bowling moved from wide-receiver to slotback after three games last season. The transition proved to be an epiphany. In a game against Kansas State the end of October, Bowling caught eight passes for 92 yards. He grabbed nine for 101 the next week. In 13 games, he caught 42 passes for 437 yards, the Cowboys thrashing Arizona 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl for its first 11-win season.
"The game was taken away from me. It was tough watching the team play and succeed," said Bowling, a physical education major who told the Gazette he eventually plans to pursue a coaching career. "When I step on the field, I play like it's my last game. I can't thank coach Gundy enough. If not for him, I wouldn't be here today. I'll do whatever it takes to make the team and get on the field."
It might be tough for Bowling to crack the lineup for Montreal, the two-time defending Grey Cup champions.
"No question, it's difficult for any young receiver to line up and understand our splits and adjustments - and catch the ball," offensive co-ordinator Scott Milanovich said told the Gazette. "But he does have some juice.
"I don't know what it is, but he does have something."