49ers release linebacker NaVorro Bowman

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have released linebacker NaVorro Bowman in a move that cut ties with one of the few remaining links from the team's last run of success.

General manager John Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Bowman on Thursday night and it became clear that going in different directions was the best move for both sides. San Francisco then released Bowman on Friday.

Bowman originally joined the 49ers as a third-round pick in 2010 and quickly formed one of the league's best linebacking duos with Patrick Willis. The two were key to San Francisco's run of three straight trips to the NFC title game and one Super Bowl appearance.

But the 49ers (0-5) are rebuilding now after winning just seven games the past two seasons and want to commit to younger players.

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