Former NFL standout finds parallels between football, auto retailing

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Boulware, 48, said he initially had no intentions of a life in auto retail when he invested into a dealership. “In the off-season, I just wanted to go check on my investment,” Boulware said, adding that during the visits he would ask many questions.

But ultimately he had discovered one of his post-football careers.

Boulware also dabbled in politics, running for a Florida House of Representatives seat, winning the Republican primary in August 2008 before losing a close general election race that November. Boulware also is a former Florida State Board of Education member and, in 2009, he and his wife, Kensy, founded the Community Leadership Academy, a private Christian school in Tallahassee.

Boulware said he’s grateful to have a second store but noted it has brought new challenges.

“The Columbia market is a little different than the Tallahassee market,” Boulware said. “The team in Columbia has a different flavor, a different style. As much as I’d like both to be carbon copies and everything done exactly the same way, as easy as that would make it, you just have to manage both stores a little differently.”

The four-time Pro Bowler said operating stores in different states provides traveling challenges. He said he can only get to South Carolina a few times a month. He said his day-to-day work is in the Tallahassee store, the city he lives in full time and where he attended college.

Boulware studied management information systems at Florida State University, where he had a standout junior season as one of the nation’s top pass rushers. During that season, he recorded a nation-leading, single-season FSU record 19 sacks and was named the 1996 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

The Baltimore Ravens drafted Boulware with the No. 4 pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. He played for the team through the 2005 season, though a knee injury sidelined him in 2004. His stellar defense contributed to the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXXV.

The NFL’s 1997 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Boulware racked up 70 career sacks, good for No. 2 on the Ravens’ all-time list. A favorite hit that Boulware remembers didn’t register as a sack, but he did take former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino to the ground.

“I remember just sitting on the ground, holding his leg, and I’m thinking, ‘Man, I’m grabbing onto one of my heroes,’ ” he said. “And I almost had to shake myself out of it and remember, ‘No, no, he’s the competition now.’ ”

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