KAHUKU, Hawaii -- Niners linebacker NaVorro Bowman was fueled by plenty of different sources during his comeback from a horrific leg injury two years ago in the NFC title game against Seattle.
But the thought of showing his young children what he came back from was the biggest driving force.
"I always wanted them to see and understand what I do -- they're three and six, and they're right at the age where they're understanding what I'm doing," Bowman told Around The NFL on Friday. "So it was good to get to this level."
His leg still hurts, but after a 116-tackle season -- four off his career high -- Bowman said he can keep pushing himself to a higher pain threshold.
"I had doubts in my mind -- (I wondered) if I was able to get back to that level," he said. "I started seeing progress and it worked out, man. It's a blessing to see all the respect I get from players in this league. That support system, that's really how you overcome injuries like that in this league."
He added: "Once the momentum is going, though, and I'm out there, I don't feel it -- it's just a reminder that I'm not easy to take down."
Working through this type of comeback has placed things into perspective. Bowman isn't panicking about the future in San Francisco -- he seems to be at peace with the team's new head coach, Chip Kelly.
"I think it'll be straight," he said. "We just had our down years and every program goes through it. We'll definitely get back to where we were."
Working through this type of comeback also makes someone like Bowman laugh at the notion that San Francisco's defense is in for it. Even if some of Kelly's former defensive players have complained about the strain that the system places on defensive players, Bowman sees it a different way.
"Nah, I think people are blowing it out of proportion," Bowman said. "I think any defense you play in, if your offense is getting off the field quicker than you gotta get off the field quicker. You gotta hold yourself to that standard."