Boulware Won't Need An Attitude Adjustment

Ravens Expect Smooth Transition For Top Pick

April 21, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Some of his Florida State teammates used to call him "church boy."

It's not an image; it's just Peter Boulware.

Boulware, the Ravens' No. 1 draft pick, was in Baltimore to meet his new teammates and coaching staff for the first time yesterday. He is quiet, a Christian, soft- and well-spoken, seems friendly and talked about hurrying back to Florida State to study for his final exams so he can get his business degree in the self-imposed time frame of four years.

"That's what most regular students do and I'm a regular student who just plays football," Boulware said. "If they can do it, then why can't I?"

Boulware plans on using the same approach on the football field. The Ravens made him the No. 4 overall pick in the annual NFL collegiate draft Saturday, and they feel that Boulware can make the transition from defensive end to strong outside linebacker.

"Why not?" said Marvin Lewis, the Ravens' defensive coordinator. "He has all the physical intangibles and he is a student of the game. Combined with his personality and work ethic, we think we have an impact player."

Boulware's character played an important part in the Ravens' drafting him. He comes baggage- free. His father, Raleigh, is a radiation therapy specialist at a South Carolina hospital. His mother, Melva, is part-owner of a furniture business and a homemaker.

Boulware's oldest brother, Raleigh Jr, is an electrical engineer with an Atlanta firm, and his older sister, Kala, is a second-year medical student at Wake Forest.

"My parents were strict, but I knew education was something I needed to get," Boulware said. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that you need a degree to get a job."

"I always tried to handle myself well off the field as well as on the field," he said.

Boulware will have to make a lot of adjustments for the 1997 season. No longer will he primarily be an outside rush guy who uses more finesse than power. The Ravens have projected him as the strong-side outside linebacker.

He'll have more responsibility like checking the tight end and having to make more tackles on the outside instead of just being a contain or force player. That means Boulware will have to add more bulk to his upper body.

He is 6 feet 4 and weighs 254 pounds, but he can easily add 15 to 20 pounds to his frame.

"There is a tremendous difference between college and professional football," he said. "In the college game, you could just handle some guys physically every week."

"I don't anticipate doing that here in the NFL," he said. "The pro game will require a lot more technique, more focus to stay on top of your game every week. I like the challenge of being a player who is supposed to have an impact. It makes you work harder, makes you get into the weight room to become better."

Lewis likes that kind of talk. It goes with the physical package. One of Lewis' tools in persuading the Ravens to chose Boulware was a five-minute tape of a workout with Lewis running him through linebackers drills.

"He saw a player who had some potential, I guess," Boulware said.

Pub Date: 4/21/97

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