I had one reaction when I saw that Bobby Bowden would be returning to Florida State for the first time since his controversial departure in 2009.
It's about time.
I know there were bitter feelings from the Bowden side. I know Florida State handled the whole situation about as poorly as it could have been. I know Bowden wanted to give Jimbo Fisher enough time to establish himself as the head coach without having to answer constant questions about replacing a legend, or having to look over his shoulder at what Bowden was saying or doing.
All of that makes sense.
But what does not make sense is the complete disassociation we have seen over the course of three years. One year is completely understandable. Time and space were needed for both sides. Three years? Just seems way too long.
Florida State would not be where it is today without Bowden. On my recent visit to Tallahassee, on a random Wednesday and Thursday in March, I saw tourists stopping by the Bowden statue in front of Doak Campbell Stadium to take photos on both days. There was no game, there was no open practice. But they knew exactly where they wanted to go and what they wanted to see.
Sure the Seminoles hit a downslide during his final years as head coach. A change had to be made. That much was obvious. The debate about whether Florida State should have let Bowden go on his own terms is old and useless at this point. Accusations were hurled, feelings were hurt. Relationships were strained or severed.
But what remains is what Bowden did for the Noles. Time has passed, perhaps wounds have been closed. Fisher has been the head coach for three years now; Bowden still lives in Tallahassee. The Seminoles are back in the national picture. Perhaps both sides felt the timing was right to have Bowden back at Doak Campbell Stadium.
So he will be there for two games this fall -- Oct. 26 against NC State and again on Nov. 16 for the homecoming game against Syracuse, when he will join members of his 1993 national championship team for a celebration of their 20th anniversary.
Something tells me Bowden will get a rousing ovation, perhaps longer and louder than the one he got when he rode off with his wife, Ann, following his final game as the Seminoles coach, Jan. 1, 2010, in Jacksonville.
It's about time.