The “Bamberg Bookends” are back together in Boca Raton and they say they are hungrier than ever.
Da’Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp do not seem to have a problem saying that the 2013 NFL season did not go as well as they might have liked. They also don’t seem to have a problem saying that is fueling them through offseason workouts in Florida as they eye the 2014 season.
Sapp spent part of last season with the New York Jets before being released and signed by the Houston Texans. He said he expects to return to Houston next season, and he hopes to be better than ever.
“Right now, my career is not where I want it to be, but I know where I want to go and where I want to be in this league,” he said.
Bowers finds himself in a similar boat.
After entering 2013 with high expectations, he managed a sack before ending the season on injured reserve. He said he had a knee scoped in December and is back to full health. He said he is also energized by the hire of former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith to replace Greg Schiano as the Bucs coach.
“I feel like I had an opportunity stolen from me,” he said of 2013. “This year, I have a fresh start with a fresh coaching staff. I’m just looking for a fair opportunity.”
But Bowers said he and Sapp are not inclined to wait on the opportunity to just be handed over. Instead, he said they are working to make sure they are in position to take advantage of the opportunities that may be presented.
“We are both hungry,” he said. “We come in and work out, and we see guys like (San Francisco wide receiver) Anquan Boldin, a Pro Bowler, working out, and it just motivates you to go that much harder.
“It’s amazing,” he said of being able to train with Sapp. “There is always one person I can count on to give me an honest opinion.”
“I always thought it made sense,” Sapp said of training with Bowers. “We are cousins. We played together, played the same position, so it makes perfect sense. And we push each other and embrace training.”
The pair’s desire to return to form as the feared pass rushers that made them blue-chip prospects coming out of Bamberg-Ehrhardt and Clemson brought them back together. And they believe it will all pay off.
“We are doing some things different,” Sapp said. “We both want to have breakout seasons.”