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Owners meeting notebook: Bradley Bozeman a good fit for Panthers

Bradley Bozeman

PALM BEACH, Fla. — There was a time when the Ravens were trying to keep Bradley Bozeman.

But his former coach definitely thinks the Panthers found someone who can help them, on and off the field.

The Panthers signed Bozeman to a one-year deal in free agency, after he couldn't agree to a long-term extension with the Ravens previously.

Bozeman started 48 games the last three years for Baltimore, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh had nothing but praise for his former player.

"Yeah, they're getting a great person, his wife Nikki's a great person, they're great in the community," Harbaugh said Monday morning at the NFL owners meetings at The Breakers resort. "Very smart, tough player. Very physical; a big center, holds his ground in there very well. Very appreciative of what Bradley did for us for the last number of years. Just a tough, good guy."

Harbaugh said the former sixth-round pick should serve the Panthers well, considering that head coach Matt Rhule has talked about becoming a more physical, downhill-running team under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Bozeman will have a chance to compete for the starting job with incumbent Pat Elflein.

"Yeah, that's what he does," Harbaugh said. "He comes off the ball, . . . if that's what they're doing, that's what he does well."

John Harbaugh

— Former Panthers head coach John Fox has a new gig.

According to Stephen Holder of The Athletic, Fox is joining the Colts staff as a senior defensive assistant.

Fox adds some more experienced help for head coach Frank Reich (the original Panthers starting quarterback). They also have former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley on staff as defensive coordinator.

The 67-year-old Fox hasn't been in the league since his stint as the head coach of the Bears ended after the 2017 season.

The Panthers' original head coach, Dom Capers, has continued to work in advisory roles as well. The 71-year-old Capers is in Denver now, after bouncing through three other senior assistant gigs (with the Jaguars, Vikings, and Lions) since his time as the Packers defensive coordinator.

John Fox

— There might have been people who were surprised when running back D'Onta Foreman made such a splash for the Titans last year.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel was not among them.

After star running back Derrick Henry suffered a foot injury, Foreman starred for the Titans down the stretch, with 566 rushing yards and three touchdowns coming down the stretch. That included three 100-yard rushing games.

"I always felt like he was a natural runner," Vrabel said of Foreman. "First and second down, great vision, great instincts, had one-cut ability, ran to open spaces. What's always hurt him as a backup running back was special teams. Really not having a role on special teams is hard when you're not the starter."

Foreman struggled with injuries earlier in his career, but Vrabel said he showed a perseverance he admired.

"There was a sense of hope and excitement," Vrabel said. "And I really like the person and who he's become. I know his career didn't start off great with Houston, but I like when good things happen to guys who work hard, and I've always had a really good relationship with D'Onta, and I'm happy for him to make this next transition to Carolina."

D'Onta Foreman

— The NFL announced that the Lions would be the subject of this year's "Hard Knocks."

The Panthers were among the teams who could have been compelled to be the subject of the behind-the-scenes documentary from HBO. Teams that have made the playoffs the last two years or had a coaching search in the most recent offseason can ask out of the show.

View photos from The Breakers Resort at Palm Beach, Fla., as AFC coaches meet with the media during the annual NFL owners meetings.

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