Dwayne Bowe just finished one of the worst statistical seasons of his career, one in which the Chiefs’ freshly minted $56 million receiver took a backseat to the No. 1 running back when it came to both catches, targets, yards and touchdowns.

Yet, teammates and coaches have consistently raved about Bowe’s unselfishness, and while his diminished production may have led some to believe he is, perhaps, on the downside of his career at 29, there are respected football men who still believe in his talent.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who called the Chiefs’ 45-44 first-round playoff loss to the Colts for NBC, is one of them.

“He’s a big-bodied receiver that, when focused, ought to catch 80 or 90 passes a year,” Mayock said. “There’s no doubt … he still has the ability. He’s going into his eighth year. He should have two or three really solid years left.”

Mayock, of course, had the pleasure of watching Bowe terrorize the Colts in person during what was easily his best game of the season, as he caught eight passes for 150 yards and one touchdown. You can argue the Chiefs turned to him out of necessity, thanks to injuries to star runner Jamaal Charles and No. 2 receiver Donnie Avery, but Bowe prefers to think he rose to the occasion when his number was called.

“I think when Jamaal went down, we had to change our game plan (from running) to passing,” Bowe told radio station WHB (810 AM) on Tuesday. “Coach (Andy) Reid, he tries to get everybody the ball … it’s not like a couple years ago, when I was the only one productive on the offense and you had to come to me 12 or 13 times a game. Coach just wants to keep everybody happy and put everybody in situations to make plays.”

Yet, there’s little doubt the Chiefs need more from Bowe, who caught 57 passes for 673 yards and five touchdowns this year but is one of the league’s highest-paid receivers — on a team with very little cap room, to boot.

“For the money,” said Louis Riddick, an ESPN analyst and former Philadelphia director of pro personnel, “you want the Indianapolis performance more often than not. You want more of the consistent type of performance. Yeah, he needs to come through for them. They showed a lot of faith in him and made a big commitment to him. He needs to repay that commitment through his performance.”

There’s a belief that Bowe, who is listed at 6 feet 2 and 221 pounds, could take a major step toward doing just that by having a strong offseason of conditioning, something that Bowe himself acknowledged during the radio interview.

“One thing I want to work on — my endurance,” Bowe said. “I was really, really tired that last game.”

Bowe said he plans on changing the way he eats, though he didn’t provide details. He said he played this year between 212 and 214 pounds but hopes to report to camp a little lighter to better fit the offense.