With high school helmets off limits, Bowden gets pro offer

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

High school junior Brett Bowden, who has Down Syndrome, may not be allowed to play for his Hobbton (N.C.) varsity football team because of his age, but another team is openly campaigning to get his services.

According to North Carolina ABC affiliate WWAY, the head coach of the Reno Barons, an independent professional indoor football team in Nevada, wants Bowden to be a part of his team.

"I have a real opportunity here in the position I'm in in football to help someone who loves the game as much as I do," Barons coach James Terry told WWAY. "To really help a man and a family who gets more from this than I ever did.

"I played professionally and collegiately, and I envy this kid because I think he gets more out of this sport and more out of being part of this team than any of us could possibly imagine."

Hobbton High football player Brett Bowden
Hobbton High football player Brett Bowden

While the opportunity to have Bowden travel to Nevada to be a part of Barons is undoubtedly a win-win for the team (any free publicity for an independent league professional football team can't be bad), it also seems to be a genuinely spontaneous offer from an organization that was moved by Bowden's unfortunate plight.

For their part, the Bowden family reportedly hasn't decided whether to accept the offer, though Brett Bowden's mother, Pat Bowden, said she was shocked and moved by the coach's thoughtful proposal.

"To even offer that, from a little town where we're from … just a tiny hole. I don't know," Bowden told WWAY. "Words can't describe it."

Even if Brett eventually does suit up for a professional team for a night, it doesn't seem that squad would have any shot at unseating his schoolmates in his heart's allegiance.

"That team, right there," Bowden said, pointing to the Wildcats team on the field for a weekend scrimmage, when asked which football team was his favorite.

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