JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Michael Bowie is a smart football player who did something stupid.
The smart has trumped the stupid.
Bowie is in the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks, 18 months after getting booted from the OSU football team.
Violation of team rules, Mike Gundy called it.
Immaturity, Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable called it.
Not to be discussed, Bowie called it. “I just broke a couple of rules,” Bowie said during Super Bowl Media Day. “They're major in some people's eyes, minor in some people's eyes. Not going to talk about it.”
But here's what we can talk about. Bowie picked his football career off the trash heap, kept the NFL scouts interested and has made the most of chances afforded a seventh-round draft pick.
In August 2012, Bowie transferred to Northeastern State in Tahlequah and played well enough for the Seahawks to take a last-round flier on a 6-foot-4, 332-pound lineman from Sand Springs.
And the Seahawks could not be more pleased with Bowie.
“He's big and he's smart,” Cable said. “There's a talent there. When you watch him in his days at Oklahoma State, you can see a rare talent for an offensive lineman.
“We're always about trying to take young people and develop them. He's been a wonderful project and it's turned out very well.”
Here's how well. For the NFC's best team, Bowie made seven starts at right tackle, when Breno Giacomini was injured. Then in Week 16, Bowie started at right guard, for the injured J.R. Sweezy. And in the NFC semifinals, Bowie started at left guard, and no one was injured.
Cable told Seattle media that he was pleased with Bowie's play against the Saints, but the Seahawks mix and match on the O-line, so much so that Bowie ended up inactive for the NFC Championship Game.
So who knows how the Seahawks will use Bowie, or if they'll use Bowie, in the Super Bowl. But a 332-pound rookie who has shown the versatility to start at three positions on the offensive line has a bright future.
“Like gold,” Cable said of the value of a versatile lineman. “There aren't enough good offensive linemen. You're talking about a guy that's played four spots for us this year and done very well.”
Not bad for a guy who last season was playing against Missouri Southern, Washburn and Southwest Baptist.
“I had a bunch of good memories,” Bowie said. “I want to thank Coach (Kenny) Evans for giving me the opportunity to come up there and playing football for 'em. I don't have anything bad to say about Tahlequah or Northeastern State. They gave me another chance, another opportunity to get my goals accomplished.”
When Bowie was booted from OSU, he thought about going to Central Oklahoma, where his Navarro Junior College coach, Nick Bobeck, had moved. But some old Sand Springs pals — Terrance Dixon, Johnny Deaton and Shane Devers — talked Bowie into joining them in Tahlequah.
Division II football is a far cry from the opulence of OSU. Or the skill level.
“Guys were a lot bigger at Oklahoma State than the guys I played against, but as far as football, football's all the same,” Bowie said.
“It was very difficult. I just had to stay focused. I had a daughter on the way, also, so that was my main focus. Just trying to be successful so I could provide for her. It's been a long road, but I got through it, and the Lord has blessed me. I can't complain.
“It was unexpected. But that's how life goes. Takes you for a loop sometimes. You have to prepare for the next step. I'm definitely ready for the next step that life has brung me. I'm just grateful to be here with this group of guys and be at this stage. It's lovely.”
Bowie knew when he left OSU he had blown his chances at being drafted high. But he refused to believe he had blown his chances at the NFL.
OSU or Tahlequah. Left guard or right tackle. Michael Bowie has not been deterred.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.