Ryan Fowler originally signed as a free agent with Dallas, but suffered a back injury during preseason camp. He returned to Durham and underwent successful surgery by Dr. William Richardson, a consultant with Duke Sports Medicine. He then completed a rehabilitation program with Kerry Mullenix, Duke's director of athletic rehabilitation.
A 6-3, 245-pound linebacker, Fowler lettered for the Blue Devils from 2000-03, playing in 46 games with 41 starting assignments while earning second team All-ACC honors following his senior season. Finishing his career with 495 tackles, 47.5 tackles for loss and 27 double-figure tackle games to his credit, the Redington Beach, Fla., native was a four-time recipient of Duke's Outstanding Linebacker Award, two-year team captain and the team's co-MVP in 2003. On Duke's all-time charts, he ranks third in tackles and second in tackles for loss.