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How Lynn Bowden became one of the NFL draft’s most intriguing players

Lynn Bowden reaches into his pocket and fishes out a cellphone. Leaning back in a restaurant booth on a warm afternoon in early March, he scrolls and scrolls and scrolls until he finally finds the photo he’s looking for. It’s a screenshot of a text message he received at 9:06 a.m. on Sept. 29 — the morning after Kentucky lost on the road at South Carolina.

The game in itself was a letdown as Kentucky fell to 0-3 in conference play. Bowden, a junior receiver, had only three catches for 18 yards. But with less than 7 minutes remaining and the score 24-0, something unexpected happened. A spark. Kentucky got the ball back and Bowden took over at quarterback — not just for a snap but the entire possession — and marched the offense 84 yards down the field for a touchdown.

The late position change barely made the recaps, but to anyone watching, it felt like a path forward for a team that was otherwise circling the drain. Which brings us back to the text message. It’s from someone close to Bowden, he says. And, honestly, he believes they meant well at the time. But it touched a nerve. So while he’s comfortable showing the message to a reporter, he doesn’t want the author identified. He scribbles over the contact information just to be safe.

“Remember you a top three round WR,” the message reads, “you can do that s— but they wanna see you play … don’t let them f— you for they wins.”nfl nike jersey cheap

Bowden has read this countless times in the months since it was sent, but even now he shakes his head in disbelief. He didn’t respond because he didn’t know what to say. What this person didn’t understand about the situation could make up a list as long as Bowden’s throwing arm.4

Most important, it was actually Bowden’s decision to play quarterback. He’d been hounding coaches about it throughout the game, telling head coach Mark Stoops, “Let me go!”

How quickly people had forgotten his high school days, when he was a star dual-threat quarterback in Youngstown, Ohio. How easily they had forgotten that Kentucky recruited him to play Wildcat QB before moving him to receiver.

All Bowden ever wanted was the football in his hands. And on that day, with all hope lost, he was obsessed with one thing: winning. The long-term ramifications be damned.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

At least that’s where he and the messenger had something in common. Neither knew what changing positions would mean for Bowden’s future — that it would put him in a different light and turn him into one of the most interesting players to watch in the upcoming NFL draft, conjuring images of multidimensional pros like New Orleans Saints do-everything quarterback Taysom Hill.

Thinking back to that time of uncertainty, Bowden glances up at highlights of the NFL combine playing on a TV screen above his head and smiles.