NaVorro Bowman tired of being overlooked on Niners

People might not want to hear it, but 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman is on a truth-telling mission.

The three-time Pro Bowler has apparently had enough of getting overlooked, including next to a rookie on his own team. Bowman has been one of the 49ers' best defensive players of the last decade and came back from a horrific leg injury in early 2014 to make his most recent Pro Bowl appearance in 2015. During the lean Chip Kelly year, he was one of the few players consistently making head-turning plays on defense before tearing his Achilles tendon in October.

"They always want fresh and new. They had a group of linebackers come out in the recent draft]," Bowman told [The San Francisco Chronicle. "Even Reuben Foster, one of the [49ers' first round picks], being on our team. It's still like, 'He's this. He's that. NaVorro Bowman should be traded.' Why should I be traded? I've done my job every year that I've been able to do my job."

He added: "To not be mentioned as one of the best since I entered the league makes me feel a certain way sometimes. "...For the respect not to be presented and given, it just doesn't make sense to me."

Some numerous gripes, including his placement or lack thereof on NFL Network's list of top 100 players over the years follow, but the entire interview is worth your time. At some points during a player's late career, venting their frustrations can be cathartic even if it ends up coming off as petty to some people. Personally, I believe Bowman is right. Whether it was Patrick Willis or Chris Borland, Bowman's name has always gotten lost in the shuffle when it comes to great 49ers -- and great linebackers in general.

"I'm still where I am, with or without Pat," Bowman told the Chronicle. "With or without the same coach. Five different [coordinators]. Five different schemes. I feel like Floyd Mayweather. Seriously. No matter who you put up. No matter what coach you bring in here. No matter what scheme you bring in here. You're still going to know who No. 53 is."

I talked to Bowman about his comeback from the 2014 injury at the Pro Bowl and he seemed like a player who was genuinely thoughtful about his own legacy and how he'd be perceived. The lazy, injury-prone label can end up swallowing what was a great career.

Hopefully that doesn't happen to the 29-year-old. San Francisco's defense could surprise those expecting a roll-over unit this year, and even if Foster becomes the centerpiece he'll have a veteran like Bowman to thank for the boost.

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