THE VETERANS taped him to a goalpost and had him fetching doughnuts, but they've also helped Bowe get comfortable enough in the Kansas City offense to lead all rookies in receiving yards, with 369 on 22 receptions. "If it wasn't for Eddie [Kennison, a wideout] and Tony [Gonzalez, a tight end] helping me with the playbook," says Bowe, who also has three touchdown catches in his four starts, "it wouldn't be looking so easy." At LSU things were less complex: Bowe would simply line up at the same outside spot on either side of the ball while the Tigers ran "30 plays, over and over." With the Chiefs he has had to memorize variations on every set. "Motion toward the play, away from the play, line up on the ball, off the ball," he says. "It's more like 30 times six."
And Bowe has had to get accustomed to new routes and the Chiefs' preferred way of running them. In Week 4 against the Chargers, for instance, several of Bowe's eight catches came on drag routes. "I ran drags about four times in college," he says, "and about four times in that game." Bowe also finds himself in motion more than in college, where he says teams automatically switched to zone if they saw it. In the NFL, he says, "somebody might follow you, so you know it's man and you have to create separation."
But the 6'2", 221-pound receiver says he hasn't had to be as physical with DBs as he was at LSU. "Now the corners don't touch you after five yards, and NFL corners don't like to get blocked," Bowe says. "In college everybody wants to be physical and make a name for themselves. In the NFL you can just run them off."
DAVID E. KLUTHO (BOWE)