Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe has made an incredible run this season to put him not only in the conversation for best receiver in the NFL, but best overall player in the league in 2010. As we try to figure out how this happened so quickly, many of us are looking back to last summer when Bowe spent some time at a camp with Larry Fitzgerald (among others) receiving tutelage from guys like Cris Carter and Michael Irvin. Heard of them? Yeah, they're not bad.
Irvin talked with Shan Shariff of 610 Sports on Thursday morning (podcast here) and says Bowe isn't at his potential just yet.
"I talked to my man the other day [and] when I was talking to him I said that, 'You know every chance I get I'm grabbing credit for what you're doing,'" Irvin said laughing. "And we laughed about that, he and I, but the reality is that I can't really grab credit. That's a lot in him. Dwayne Bowe is a phenomenal talent, a phenomenal talent.
"As good as you think he is right now, he's probably 85 percent of what he can become."
You've put on notice, NFL cornerbacks. Irvin went on to explain the difference between a pure pass-catcher and athletes that are turned into receivers -- and where Bowe fits into that.
"People say you're a wide receiver and we think he runs out and catches a pass. That's his primary job but they come in different forms. You have what I call pure receivers that can catch any pass. They never have an issue with where their hands are and they catch the ball because they're pure receivers, pure pass catchers. Guys like Dez Bryant -- pure pass catcher. When you hear Dez Bryant talking about working out, he'll talk about running routes.
"Other guys that come in, they're athletes we turn into receivers. They're not pure receivers. They know how to run, they have great cutting ability but they have to work on their hands so when you talk to them about their workouts they say they go out everyday and catch 300 balls.Pure receivers don't need to go out and catch 300 balls. I already knew how to catch balls. When I work out, I work on getting open. When the ball gets there, I'll catch that. Don't worry about that."
So in which category does Bowe fall?
"Dwayne Bowe's something different," Irvin continued. "He's a phenomenal athlete with raw receiver skill. That's why I said he's 85 percent of what he can be. He's going to get better and I saw clearly the hunger to be the best."
The hunger Irvin talks about stems from his summer workouts with Bowe, Fitzgerald and the rest of the guys. We made an issue out of the fact that Bowe said last summer that he hadn't worked out in nearly two weeks before showing up to the camp. For some of us, we were questioning his dedication.
There's no reason to do that, Irvin says.
"We were laughing about him being tired," Irvin says. "But he never stopped going for that ball. So where do you focus on? Do you focus on the thing that you can clean up in two weeks, which is conditioning? I can get him better in two weeks. Or do you focus on, even though he was tired, he went past his tired and went after the ball?
"I tell you, that guy right there, I want. I don't even look at conditioning. I can fix that. But having someone who has that desire? That's god-given. That's what I look at. I'm telling you man, he'll continue to work. But he's about 85 percent."
Of course, Todd Haley has to care about the conditioning, unlike Irvin. And from what we've heard from guys like Haley and QB Matt Cassel, Bowe came in with a different attitude this season when it came to conditioning.
"When you show him you believe in, you'll get the best him in him. That's what he is."
The full interview is at 610Sports.com. It's worth a listen.