As the Ravens’ nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, left guard Bradley Bozeman was at Super Bowl LV, watching from a luxury suite at Raymond James Stadium with his wife, Nikki, and teammate Calais Campbell as the final game of the NFL season unfolded.
As Bozeman watched the game from the suite, he was reminded of the hard work and dedication that goes into each season in an effort to play for the Lombardi Trophy on the sport’s biggest stage.
“It was just a really special moment, you sit there and you kind of get chills run up the back of your neck,” Bozeman said on Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 9. “You just picture yourself down on that field playing on the biggest stage. You know that’s what you fight for every year, that’s what you put in the work for. That’s what you’ve grinded for your entire life, to get to that moment to get to that stage.”
Nikki expressed similar sentiments after watching the Super Bowl and admiring all of the pregame pageantry, complete with the patented flyover and national anthem.
“This is what needs to be ingrained in your memory for the whole season here, the national anthem, the flyover, the celebration and the confetti,” Nikki said. “You stay and watch all of that, so that just fuels your fire for next year.”
During the game, Bozeman had the opportunity to speak with two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, who was elected as part of the eight-member 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. The duo had previously met one time outside the Alabama football locker room when Bozeman was a freshman for the Crimson Tide. Bozeman was wearing just compression shorts, something Bozeman reminded Manning of when the two spoke again at the Super Bowl.
“He came over, we were talking, and I actually told him the story,” Bozeman said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, I remember that,’ and we were cracking up afterwards. He’s such a great guy, just sat there and had a great conversation with him.”
The NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award is considered one of the highest honors in the league, named after the Hall of Fame running back who is No. 2 in NFL history in rushing (16,726 yards) and has a legacy off the field as well.
Each NFL team nominates one player who has had a positive impact on their community. Campbell won the award in 2019 as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson received the award in 2020.
“It’s such an honor to represent the Ravens and be our nominee,” Bozeman said. “It was such a great experience to go there and hangout with such a great group of guys that just try to do good in the world.”
The Bozemans started the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation, which has helped address bullying nationally. The foundation has also helped to address food insecurities in the greater Baltimore area.
They traveled to schools across the country last year prior to the pandemic, speaking with more than 11,000 kids preaching tolerance and acceptance as part of an anti-bullying campaign. They also have helped to establish food distribution centers around Baltimore City in an effort to help address the food insecurities that many families are dealing with right now.
For Bozeman, watching the Super Bowl with Campbell as part of the Man of the Year festivities was another reminder of what he and his teammates are working toward each grueling day in practice, from the first day of OTAs to the final game of the season.
“I just hope one day I’m able to be on that stage and hold up a couple of Lombardi trophies,” Bozeman said. “That’s what we work for. It was definitely a great moment to share with Calais and to … know what we’re working for.”
For more from Bozeman, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox