Adrian Peterson saw the play, the one that made the rest of America cringe.

A year and a half ago, when the 49ers played the Seahawks in a wild NFC championship game the Seahawks ultimately won on their way to a Super Bowl title, 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, one of the best in the business, suffered a gruesome knee injury while scooping up a fumble.

Bowman tore his ACL and MCL that night in January 2014. He ended up missing the entire 2014 season as he worked his way back from the injury.

Bowman, a three-time first-team All-Pro, returned to live game action last month with three tackles, including two for a loss, against the Cowboys.

Bowman told Peter King of Sports Illustrated that he needs two hours of massaging, bending, stretching and then rest to just get out on the field.

“I thought I ended my career,” the 49ers linebacker told King last month. “I knew how my leg was, and how my knee was going off to the side, and you don’t want to see that. Then Dr. [James] Andrews told me there was a possibility I wouldn’t get back to the way I was. So anytime I felt pain going through the rehab, I just thought of that and fought through that.”

Peterson, who knows a thing or two about overcoming devastating a knee injury, said he reached out to Bowman “once or twice” while Bowman was working his way back from his injury, but the two never connected.

But watching from a far, Peterson is impressed by Bowman’s perseverance.

“Just watching him, it’s the preseason, but it doesn’t look like he’s coming off an ACL injury,” Peterson said. “So with that, I have so much respect for him because I know how hard it is to get up every morning and push yourself to get back to 100 percent. And the way that he is playing, it’s just a testimony of the hard work he put in. It’s showing, so I’m happy for him.”

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