Football Zebras has confirmed through multiple sources that veteran down judge Derick Bowers will miss the rest of the 2023 season due to an injury sustained in the first quarter on Sunday.
Bowers was hurt in the Week 1 game in Washington between the Commanders and Cardinals.
The referee on this crew is Alan Eck, making his debut at the white hat. Bowers left and the crew continued with six officials. Line judge Robin DeLorenzo moved over to down judge leaving the line judge position vacant. DeLorenzo had to hold down the line of scrimmage all by herself. The deep judges had to stay in the secondary in order to judge passing plays and kick plays, but field judge John Jenkins was responsible for the entire sideline where DeLorenzo would have been.
We do not know the details of Bowers injury, but he appeared to be favoring his left arm after taking a spill. The NFL declined to comment.
According to our records, this injury happened in Bowers’ 300th regular season game. In addition, the 21-year veteran has also officiated 18 playoff games – nine wild card games, five divisional games, two conference championships and Super Bowls XLIII and LVI.
Long time umpire Fred Bryan is a swing official this season. He has worked at the umpire position, but there were plans to have him work the line of scrimmage this year. Bryan apparently will sub for Bowers in Week 2.
This is a very rare situation as umpires rarely move permanently from umpire to another non-referee position. We don’t know if this is a one-year situation for Bryan or if he is getting ready to move to the wings permanently. The last official to do that was Ben Montgomery — who worked as a line judge, then umpire then back to line judge to finish his career.
Other officials, like Jim Quirk Sr., Ron Botchan, Hendi Ancich, and Jim Daopoulos began their NFL careers at another position and then moved to umpire.
Best wishes to Bowers as he recovers from his injury and we hope to see him back on the field soon.
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