Michael Bowie had no choice but to be patient during the NFL draft last spring, forced to wait until the 242nd overall pick — 13th from the bottom — before hearing his name called.
Getting his first major on-field challenge as an NFL player, though, appears as if it might come quickly.
Bowie, the last of four players the Seahawks selected in the seventh round, is in line to make his first start Sunday at Houston at right tackle if regular starter Breno Giacomini can’t play. That prospect grew more likely Thursday when Giacomini missed his second straight practice with a knee injury that was aggravated Sunday against Jacksonville.
And if Bowie does start against the Texans, he could find himself on the first snap looking straight at the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.
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Bowie, though, said Thursday he’s up for the task.
“I’m ready to go,” Bowie said. “I live for moments like this.”
Helping boost Bowie’s confidence are the 30 snaps he received in Sunday’s 45-17 win over the Jaguars, his first career NFL action.
Seattle coaches have said that what impressed them the most is that Bowie looked like he belonged.
“It was what I expected,” Bowie said. “The guys are pretty good out there, but it wasn’t too much for me to handle.”
And Bowie has played in big-time situations before. While he spent his final season at Northeastern State, a Division II school in Tahlequah, Okla., he played in 2011 at Oklahoma State, starting five games for a team that beat Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl to finish No. 3 in the country.
Projected to be a key player in 2012, he was dismissed from the team before the season for an unspecified violation of team rules (something he has declined to talk about). Seahawks general manager John Schneider said on draft day that that situation likely caused the 6-foot-4, 332-pound Bowie to last as long as he did.
“He was picked where he was picked for a reason,’’ Schneider said. “He’s had a little bit of a background, and he needs to overcome those things, and if he overcomes them he has a chance to be an excellent pro.”
So far, so good for Bowie, who has earned nothing but praise from Seahawks coaches for his play and attitude. Throughout training camp and into the season, Bowie and fellow rookie tackle Alvin Bailey have consistently been cited as potential future bedrocks of the offensive line.
“I’m really excited about their future, our future,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said, evaluating their play last Sunday. “I thought both of those kids went in there and knocked people off the ball, protected really well. They got comfortable really quick, which was a huge moment of growth that they are OK and can handle it in a regular NFL game.”
Still, starting on the road against the Texans — against Watt and linebacker Brian Cushing and a defense that brings pressure roughly 80 percent of the time — would be a far different deal than handling reserve duty against the Jaguars at home.
Cable says the key for the Seahawks is to simply handle their assignments without worrying about who is on the other side of the ball.
Bowie, though, will undoubtedly know.
“It’s a big test for me,” said Bowie, who suffered a shoulder injury in the final exhibition game against Oakland but says he is 100 percent. “It’s going to allow me to see where I’m at, and if I play pretty good I feel like I can only get better from there.”
• Sitting out Thursday were SS Jeron Johnson (hamstring) and RB Spencer Ware (ankle).
• Listed as being limited in practice were center Max Unger (arm) and DT Jordan Hill (biceps). Unger suffered the injury against the Jaguars but continued to play. His backup is Lemuel Jeanpierre, and Seattle added depth at center this week when it signed Jason Spitz. He was most recently with Jacksonville but started 45 games for Green Bay from 2006 to 2010.
• Listed as fully participating Thursday were DE Red Bryant, who suffered back spasms Sunday, and WR Jermaine Kearse, who suffered a sprained ankle, indicating each will play against the Texans.