CHARLOTTE- Ben Boulware walked off the practice fields at Bank of America Stadium Monday with a smile and two helmets in hands.
It's a rookie chore that he's happy to be a part of.
"This is TD's helmet, he's even got the signature in his helmet so it's kind of a cool helmet," Boulware joked as he showed off Thomas Davis' helmet to the media.
It's things like carrying helmets and stocking drinks in the Panthers' fridge that are a small reminder Boulware is getting a shot at his dreams.
The Panthers signed the former Clemson standout as an undrafted free agent and he's out to prove he's worth a spot.
"It's kind of the way I play the game. I feel like it has to be. A six foot guy like me, not an overwhelming presence like some of those other guys. You gotta have a chip on your shoulder and mine's probably a lot bigger than others," Boulware said.
The offseason isn't just about proving himself on the field though. With Pro Bowlers like Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly on the team, Boulware is taking in every lesson he can.
"I strive to play like them every single day. Obviously I have my variation of how I play the game, I'm my own man, but they set the standard of how to play linebacker at this level so you just strive and try your best to do what they do on a daily basis," he said.
The reigning Jack Lambert Award winner is doing a pretty good job of that so far. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he's a young guy they'll keep their eyes on.
"I've seen a young man who studies the game and takes it very seriously, and does his responsibilities the way he should as a football player. On the field he's showing you he reads very quickly, makes good decisions, gets himself downhill, plays with his hands very nicely," Rivera explained.
The Panthers still have eight weeks before their training camp, but in the meantime Boulware is making the most of every opportunity that comes along with being a rookie.
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