Tim Bowens could fend off 350-pound blockers with his massive arms. But in the end he was stopped by pain in the back.
Arguably the franchise's strongest and most durable defensive lineman retired after 11 seasons with the Dolphins."I am grateful to the Dolphins for all the years I have been able to play in Miami," Bowens said Wednesday. "I appreciate all the support I have received throughout my career from the fans, from my teammates and coaches and from the rest of the Dolphins organization.
"It will be exciting to remain a part of the team in my new role as a member of the Dolphins alumni."
Bowens, 32, was the last remaining Dolphin to have played for coach Don Shula, who had selected him out of Ole Miss in the first round of the 1994 draft. Shula retired after the 1995 season.
"He turned out to be everything we hoped he would be," Shula said at the team banquet Wednesday night.
"I am proud of the career he had and all the recognition he received as one of the top defensive linemen and run-stuffers in the league."
"It's a sad day for lot of us who played with him," said defensive end Jason Taylor, a teammate since 1997.
"Without a doubt he was the most unselfish player I ever played with or ever met. He never wanted the glory or the accolades. None of us could have done what we did without him."
Bowens, who totaled 558 tackles and 22 sacks, earned trips to the Pro Bowl in 1998 and 2002.
The left defensive tackle was a cog in a run defense that was ranked in the top eight of the league five times since his rookie season.
After missing five games in 10 seasons, Bowens played only two games last year (Games 6 and 7) due to a recurring herniated disc in his back.
"Over the last few years, I can say he is one of the true leaders of this football team," said cornerback Sam Madison, also a teammate since 1997.
"Once he got on that football field he was all football, but when we got in that locker room he was the guy who keeps the peace and keeps things fun and lively. "He has been a positive shining star in our locker room."
Bowens had been unable to participate in any of the offseason workouts or minicamps.Because of injuries to Bowens and Larry Chester, last year's starting defensive tackles, the Dolphins bolstered their line this offseason by acquiring Vonnie Holliday, Kevin Carter and Keith Traylor.
Bowens was to have been paid $765,000 in base salary this season.
Coach Nick Saban waived him for failing his physical, but only after Bowens told him he wanted to retire as a Dolphin.
"Tim has been a cornerstone of the team's defense for more than a decade, and during that time has acquired a well-deserved reputation as one of the best defensive tackles in the league," Saban said.
"We want to thank him for his contributions to the Dolphins, and we're looking forward to maintaining a close relationship with him in the future."
11-year veteran Bowens retires
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