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Through my eyes: Bennie Fowler returns home to the Motor City

Stepping onto Ford Field last Sunday night felt familiar.

The first time I ever played at Ford Field was in 2007 when I was a junior in high school and then as a senior, both for the Michigan High School State Championship title.

But growing up in Bloomfield, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, I didn’t dream of playing at Ford Field.

My sights were set on being a basketball player.

I didn’t start playing football consistently until my junior year of high school. For a couple years I played in a youth league and my first two years of high school I didn’t play.

But my mom noticed that after years of running track, winning the state championship and competing in long jump – that I had the speed and potential to be great. She told me I should go back out, try football and see how and see how it worked out.

It worked out and I got the opportunity to play for the Michigan State Spartans for four years and go back to Ford Field as a redshirt freshman – and catch my first ever pass in college football.

I never imagined I would ever play in the NFL, so walking onto that field in my Broncos uniform in front of my family was like no feeling I’d ever experienced before. Especially after spending last season on the practice squad. 

During game preparations for the Lions, I didn’t expect to play as much as I did. Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert told us we were all going to play. He told me I would be in some third-and-long situations to use my speed. But once I got in a rhythm I guess they kept me in there more and I continued to get the ball.

And then it happened.

In the second quarter, during the fourth series of the night on second-and-7, Peyton Manning found me and I was able to gain 13 yards --- my first catch in the NFL on the same field I got my first catch in colleg

After that there was a timeout and it all sunk in. Demaryius Thomas came up to me and said, Oh, okay, I see you! It’s good to see you out here!

That meant a lot because the past season I spent on the practice squad I had the opportunity to learn from Demaryius and Emmanuel Sanders on a day-to-day basis. Things like that helped a lot. It’s helped me carry it over to the preseason and now the regular season.

I’ve been working for this and I’m happy that my first catch was at home. Hard work is paying off. I’ve got to continue to stay consistent, so I’m going to continue to work hard and when my number’s called I’ll be ready to make some plays.

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