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Carolina Panthers

Ben Boulware Q&A


On coming to Carolina: "I've been dreaming about this moment for a long time. It's definitely not done yet. I still have a whole lot of work to do. I still have to make the team, but to get to this point is really cool."

On not being drafted: "It is what it is. I obviously wanted to get drafted, but I didn't. I can't really fret or whine or complain. It happened. There is nothing I can do about it. It's in the past. All I really can do is make the most of the situation I'm in now. Try to maximize the opportunity I have now, regardless if I was a first-round pick or an eighth-round pick. I guess I was the Panthers' eighth-round pick this year."

Why he signed with a team so deep at linebacker: "Learn behind two of the best linebackers in the game right now. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. I feel like it's the perfect opportunity for me to learn and grow as a player. It's a good market for me, staying two hours away from home. I feel like I can make the team. I'll have to pay my dues and act like a freshman in college again and work my way up. I'm willing to compete and do anything to make the team.

"I know Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are better than me. It is what it is. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm going to take their starting job because there is no way in hell I'm going to. But I'm going to be ready for any opportunity that comes up and try and contribute with whatever role that may be – special teams, being the tackling dummy – whatever it is, I'm just trying make the 53."

On going from national champion to undrafted free agent: "It's a very humbling experience to go from the very top to now at the very bottom, but I'm up for it. I've done it before. I went from being a pretty highly recruited high school player to doing nothing as a freshman, playing special teams. I'm going to make the most of the opportunity I've been given."

On feeling he's made it: "I haven't yet. There is not really any security in being an undrafted free agent. I have to work my butt off, and there are only 53 spots. There are a lot of guys here, so I haven't made it yet. Hopefully in the next couple months I can finally say I made it. But the work is not done yet."

On meeting Kuechly or Davis: "Luke actually texted me the day before I got here and just welcomed me to the organization. I was like, this is so cool. I was totally a fan. I screenshot it and showed it to all my friends. He's Luke Kuechly. He's one of the best players in the game so it was pretty cool feeling to get a text from him. Thomas Davis came to our meeting yesterday. I haven't met Luke yet in person.

"Cam came up to me yesterday and dapped me up. That was pretty cool. Cam Newton dapped me up."

On his competitive drive: "Just being an underdog. Just being kind of overlooked in every aspect of life, especially football. Hearing, 'You're not good enough. You're too small, you're too short. Not athletic enough.' I'm just wanting to prove myself right and everyone else wrong that I can play at this level. I feel like I proved that at college when everyone said I couldn't play at Clemson and I wouldn't contribute, and you all obviously know what I did at Clemson. I know the NFL is a whole new level. But I'm up for the challenge. I'm in the business of proving people wrong, so I'm looking forward to doing that."

View photos of the Carolina Panthers during the first day of Rookie Minicamp.

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