After general manager Ray Farmer signed him to a two-year deal worth $9 million in guaranteed money, he went on to log a statistic in just five games this season. All of his three catches came in one week against the Bengals. Mostly, he gets ready on game day by donning street clothes.
And while this could inevitably be part of the divide between Farmer and his scouting department and Mike Pettine and his coaching staff, it stands out as a profound misuse of funds. Bowe has made $3 million per catch in 2015.
"I've never been through anything like this in my life," Bowe told Cleveland.com. "It's the ultimate challenge."
Pettine has not hinted at any issues behind the scenes, but he did make clear that Bowe was not one of the team's top four wide receivers. Bowe, when attempting to explain the issue, noted that he missed a large portion of training camp with a hamstring injury.
"When I got hurt, it set me back as far as the coach getting to know what I can do and things like that," Bowe said. "I just got so far behind in the playbook and they added most of the main content when I was out. When I was got back, they were so far ahead, and to go back for me would've set the whole offense back."
Though playbooks are an evolving, ever-changing concept in the NFL, this seems like an epic cop out. There are players who are signed on Wednesdays and have significant roles four days later on Sunday. There is a small army of coaches who can personally dedicate themselves to a player learning the playbook while injured if the motivation is there. Just ask the Rams and Giants.
Bowe doesn't seem to think he's lost a step either.
"Of course I can still play," Bowe said. "I show it every day in practice. I feel like if they put me in there and threw the ball to me, I would've made big plays."
Maybe it's just another embarrassing moment for the Browns this season. The Browns' online shop offers deals on Terrance West jerseys along with old Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon uniforms, but Bowe, the team's best attempt at scoring in free agency, is nowhere to be found. If this doesn't encapsulate the season perfectly, we're not sure what does.