Bradley Bozeman rolling into town with a plan

Bradley Bozeman

CHARLOTTE — Bradley Bozeman sold the RV a couple of years ago.

Now, he's looking to put down some roots, and he's open to the idea of doing it here.

The new Panthers offensive lineman was in Bank of America Stadium last week to sign his new contract, alongside his wife Nikki, and admitted he's already thinking about what comes next.

"I felt like we really fit," Bozeman said during his first visit. "I feel like this is an environment that Nikki and I want to associate ourselves with. We feel like this is the kind of place we can grow.

"And hopefully we can finish our career here. It's a one-year deal, but we'll see what happens after this year."

The Panthers found an unexpected bargain in free agency by getting the former Ravens center on a one-year deal. Players of his age (27) and pedigree would generally look for more security, but Bozeman has a chance to reset his market for the future depending on how this season plays out.

He started 48 games the last three years for the Ravens, first at left guard and last year at center. The Panthers are adding competition to all the interior spots, and the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder will likely compete with Pat Elflein for the center job.

Bozeman said he talked to a number of teams about similar setups, but liked what he found here when he stopped by on his way from his Nashville home to a quick beach vacation.

For one thing, there's an immediate respect for new offensive line coach James Campen, who groomed a number of Pro Bowlers in Green Bay. Bozeman said he sat with Campen "for an hour and a half or two hours, just talking ball" during his visit.

"So I feel like it's a chance to come and grow and try to be a better football player," Bozeman said.

He also has some familiarity with new teammate Austin Corbett, the former Rams guard who was one of the first deals the Panthers struck in free agency.

The two of them know each other well, the relationship beginning when they were thrown together as roommates at the 2018 Senior Bowl. When Bozeman saw the early news of Corbett's deal here last week, he texted him, and is thinking about moving in next to him on the field.

Bradley Bozeman (left) and Austin Corbett (middle) at the 2018 Senior Bowl.
Bradley Bozeman (left) and Austin Corbett (middle) at the 2018 Senior Bowl.

"We hit it off and have been friends ever since," Bozeman said. "When I saw the news, I texted him congratulations, and then we ended up here. I'm excited to play next to him; it's going to be a fun time."

Bozeman's already lived a colorful life. During his rookie season, he and his wife bought an RV for travel and eventually just moved into it. They also used it to travel the country and speak to school groups about their anti-bullying message. During their time in Baltimore, they also got involved with groups dealing with food insecurity in communities.

He's still learning his way around Charlotte, but he's already thinking about what he could do here.

That includes competing for a starting job, and making his mark on his new team.

"I've always been willing to bet on myself," Bozeman said. "I know what kind of work I can do. I know I'm going to walk out there and leave everything on the field.

"If I turn around and look in the mirror in 10 years, I know I will have given everything I have to it. So I'm excited about the opportunity."

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

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