Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-round draft pick Da'Quan Bowers knows that only his play on the field will silence questions about his surgically repaired right knee, but he insists he's ready to compete.
"My knee is great," the defensive end told WDAE-AM on Friday. "It's back to where I needed it to be. You know, It's back to playing shape. You know, I've been rehabbing and working out all throughout the whole summer, even through the lockout. The knee is fine. I'm running, cutting, jumping. Everything's a full go."
Asked if the knee injury was degenerative, as some reports have suggested, Bowers said, "That's not the case," adding that renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews "has seen much worse knees than mine that went on to have great careers in the NFL."
Bowers has skipped two player-only workouts organized by Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman -- and he failed to attend June's NFL Players Association-run rookie symposium -- but the former Clemson defensive terror says he skipped out to prepare his body for the season ahead.
"I didn't want to miss rehab and training," Bowers explained. "You know, I thought that this was a crucial point coming that the lockout may end in the next couple weeks. I didn't want to put myself behind in the great rehab program I have going for myself, so I decided to skip the symposium and the minicamp.
"I didn't want to miss any rehab time or anything that would slow me down from, you know, being where I needed to be come camp time."
Bowers is motivated to put the injury chatter behind him, and he predicts heady days in Tampa Bay's future.
"Get (the) popcorn ready," he said. "It's gonna be a long ride to the Super Bowl."