Just one day after helping the Baltimore Ravens' offense return to form during a win against the Tennessee Titans Oct. 14, rookie offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman launched a nonprofit organization in Baltimore he hopes can make a difference in his new community.
The Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation
-- Bozeman co-founded the foundation with his fiancee, Nikki Hegstetter -- focuses on preventing bullying among children and teenagers in Baltimore area schools.
The Bozemans first became involved in the anti-bullying movement at the University of Alabama. Bradley Bozeman played football for the Crimson Tide from 2013-2017, while Nikki Bozeman played basketball at Alabama from 2012-2016. Bradley and Nikki traveled to schools around the state as a guest speaker in April 2018.
"I grew a passion for talking to kids about bullying and treating other with respect," Bozeman said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Oct. 16. "We think it's a really great way for us to give back and share our knowledge."
Bozeman and his wife, both of whom were bullied as children for their size, use their life lessons and experiences to help kids understand their self-worth and provide role models who went through the same experiences.
"I wasn't always 6-[foot]-5, 320 pounds," Bozeman said. "I tell the kids every time I go and talk, I open up with, 'I looked like Augustus Gloop from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' when I was a kid.'"
"Some of these kids are really struggling," Bozeman added. "They don't know those values of knowing their self-worth and knowing who they are as a person."
After coming to Baltimore as a sixth-round pick in this year's NFL Draft, Bozeman wanted to make what he started in Tuscaloosa, Ala., even better in Baltimore. Bozeman has already taken action at a few schools in the Baltimore area, most recently Pikesville High School.
"It was such an amazing experience, just to see that we had the same effect here as we did at Alabama," Bozeman said. "I'm so excited to continue in the future."
Along with excitement for his off the field accomplishments, the Roanoke, Ala., native also has reason to be excited on the field.
After Ravens starting left guard Alex Lewis had to be carted off the field against the Titans with a neck injury, Bozeman got his first extended chance to play with the Ravens' offense on game day.
"We prepare like were gonna play," Bozeman said. "I've worked my butt off to be ready when that situation is called upon. So I think I went in and I did I pretty decent job."
While Lewis' injury
is not as serious as it seemed
when it occurred, the Ravens kept him off the practice field Oct. 17 and 18, signaling he will likely not start against the New Orleans Saints Oct. 21. This means Bozeman
to the Ravens' starting offense, giving him a chance to show the Ravens why they drafted him earlier this year.
"I may not be a starter right away. I may not be the man right away," Bozeman said, "but when you do need me and that situation arises, I'll be there and I'll be ready."
To hear more from Bozeman, listen here:
This was updated to clarify
Nikki Hegstetter is Bradley Bozeman's fiancee.
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox