Ravens Center Nominated For Prestigious Award in ‘Career Year’

Ravens Bradley Bozeman

Getty Baltimore Ravens center Bradley Bozeman looks on during a 2021 preseason game.

Baltimore Ravens center Bradley Bozeman has been nominated for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, according to multiple announcements from the NFL and the Ravens on December 7.

The award “recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field,” according to the NFL’s website, and Bozeman certainly exemplifies that description, earning his second consecutive nomination for the prestigious award.

Bozeman and his wife, Nikki, have spent the past two years working to combat childhood bullying and food insecurity, according to his official nomination page.

The couple began a cross-country anti-bullying campaign in February 2020, and though it was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, they still spoke to thousands of students across the country.

They then turned their attention towards food insecurity, hosting meal distributions at Mount Pleasant Ministries in Baltimore starting in July 2020 that have continued through the 2021 season, distributing almost two million meals in that time.

Bradley and Nikki Bozeman also engage in a variety of other philanthropic efforts, through the Ravens organization and their own charitable foundation, the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation, with a focus on anti-bullying and academic support efforts.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced the news of Bozeman’s nomination in front of the team after practice on December 7, with Bozeman giving a brief speech to his teammates.

Bozeman later posted a video thanking his wife for her leadership of the couple’s foundation on Twitter.

Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams also responded to the news, tweeting that he “couldn’t think of a better candidate.”

 

 


On-Field Excellence in ‘Career Year’

Along with his exemplary philanthropic efforts, Bozeman has excelled in his first season as the Ravens’ starting center after spending the previous two seasons as the team’s starting left guard. He was moved to the position after current starting right tackle Patrick Mekari and ex-Raven Matt Skura struggle to consistently snap the ball in 2019 and 2020.

Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness tweeted earlier on December 7 that Bozeman is “quietly having a career year,” and PFF’s grading system of the fourth-year center backs up that statement.

After failing to record an overall offensive grade of 65.0 or better in his first three NFL seasons, Bozeman has earned a 72.2 grade from PFF this season, the 11th-best mark among all centers in 2021. He’s persisted through a back injury and a non-COVID illness to anchor a struggling Ravens offensive line, allowing only three sacks in his 12 starts this year.


Will the Ravens Re-Sign Bozeman?

Bozeman’s rookie contract expires after this season, so the Ravens will have to decide if they want to re-sign him for the 2022 season and beyond.

McGuinness estimated that Bozeman could receive a contract somewhere in the range of $10-12 million per year from Baltimore, comparable to other top centers around the league.

Ravens fans seem to be in favor of keeping Bozeman, especially given his efforts to give back to the Baltimore community.

According to an NFL press release on November 15, the winner of the award will be announced on February 10 as part of the 11th annual NFL Honors awards special.

The winner receives a $250,000 donation from the NFL to their charity of choice, with all other nominees receiving a donation up to $40,000, with all funds donated by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide, the award’s sponsor.


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