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Bradley Bozeman and his wife Nikki want to leave a "footprint"


CHARLOTTE - Five days after signing his one-year deal with the Panthers, Bradley Bozeman hopped on Twitter with a mission in mind: Find everything there is to do around Charlotte.

Since March, the 27-year-old offensive lineman and his wife Nikki have explored much of what the Queen City has to offer. They've particularly enjoyed eating at local restaurants, taking a trip to the Cheerwine Festival in nearby Salisbury, and attending Knights baseball games – where Bradley got to throw out the first pitch in May.

But the Bozemans are looking for more than a sense of belonging in North Carolina, Bradley said. They're touring around the city with purpose, looking to connect with as many locals as they can meet to get a sense of how they can make a difference through their charitable work with The Bradley & Nikki Bozeman Foundation.

Through their foundation, the Bozemans took on food insecurity at their previous stop in Baltimore and embarked on anti-bullying campaigns in schools across the country, among other charitable endeavors.

Now, the couple is getting out on the town in search of ways to make their mark in Charlotte.

"Everywhere we've been, we've jumped in the community," Bradley said. "That's the best way to see things. You have to really be involved in it to hear people out."

The Bozemans, who once moved into an RV they traveled in during the offseason, have settled into a house near South End, Nikki said, with room for their two dogs Dodge and Luna. She said they hope to keep the roots they're planting in Charlotte for years to come.

"We just want to make the biggest impact that we can," Nikki said. "Whether that's feeding kids, mentoring, going to schools and hosting our assemblies (or) going to youth football camps, just speaking and being present, I think it's so important to grow your biggest footprint you can and help as many people as you can."

Bradley Bozeman said he wants Charlotte locals to know they can come up to him or his wife any time they see the couple out in the city. The two have "never met a stranger," he said.

Chances are strong you may catch the couple around town. They go anywhere – having already made a stop at a Charlotte FC game and strolled around Uptown to get a feel for the town. The Bozemans have also enjoyed concerts in the city, Nikki said.

They take a lot of their recommendations for places to stop by from Twitter, Nikki said. The two have used social media to find "hidden gems" and often share their journey around Charlotte online.

"Twitter's kind of been our best friend," Nikki said.

The Bozemans look to identify ways to serve as they embed in a community, Bradley said. To their delight, the couple found Charlotte to be a

Nikki said she took note of the city's "charitable" nature early into their relocation. 

With the help of the Panthers' community relations department and following a radio appearance, Nikki said she has started having many conversations with businesses and organizations hoping to partner with the Bozemans' foundation. 

"It's just a great way to get involved," he said. "See what the city is (and) really try to understand it, but also have fun doing it."

Bradley Bozeman said his phone rang within 20 minutes of signing with the Panthers. On the other end of the line? Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, with a warm welcome.

McCaffrey's gesture was a taste of what was to come, as Bradley said he and Nikki had been invited to a handful of Panthers family events. He said they have been greeted with open arms from across the team.

"I really feel like we're part of the family," Bradley said. "It's been so great, so welcoming to us. I think that's definitely my favorite part."

And just as the Panthers have already embraced the Bozemans, the Bozemans hope to embrace Charlotte.

A relationship between their foundation and a city that can take years to cultivate was made simple in Charlotte, Nikki said. Because the Bozemans have already made connections within the city, Nikki said she expects partnerships and programs will be launching soon.

 "We've been in towns all over the country; you sit in meetings with people, but it took us years to be able to get ingrained in the city," she said. "How many months have we been here, like four? And we've already had meetings with businesses." 

Bradley noted the Panthers' prominence across Charlotte as one of the reasons he wants to embed himself in the community, making an impact in his new home.

That he and Nikki get to have fun exploring is a plus, Bradley said.

"This team is kind of the heartbeat of the city," he said. "We want to be out in the city, let people see us out there and see that we're involved and love this place."

Go behind the scenes with Bozeman as he arrives in Charlotte.

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