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Peter Boulware Finds Things A Bit Different In This School Of Hard Knocks

This time Peter Boulware got to play some offense. The results were less than satisfactory, however, as the former Baltimore Ravens linebacker came up just short in his quest to win a seat in the Florida state House of Representatives on Nov 4. Final score: Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda 48.6 percent, Boulware 48.1 percent. That's microscopically close to the goal line, as the 0.5053 percent difference was less than half a percentage point from what was needed to gain an automatic recount. Of more than 80,000 votes cast, Boulware lost by only 440. I talked with him about his adventures on the campaign trail, seen below. Boulware, a Republican, was running in a traditionally Democratic district that includes Tallahassee, where he played at Florida State. The four-time Pro Bowler is the Ravens all-time sacks leader (with 70) and he helped win the Super Bowl in 2000, before knee injury forced him to retire. How is decompressing from a political campaign different from decompressing after a football game? In a football game you practice all week, and win or lose you put it behind you. In the political world, you gear up for a lot longer; I was campaigning for over a year. And then suddenly you lose, and there is no game next week. It's all or nothing. It's not easy for me right now. Did name recognition give you an advantage? I didn't notice Michelle Vasilinda flashing a Super Bowl ring, although I could be wrong. It helps at first, but name recognition can only get you so far. Eventually people want to know what you're going to do for them. They want to know how you're going to help fix problems, how you're going to govern. And being a football player ultimately has nothing to do with that. What was the strangest thing about the campaign? What weird shit went down? I don't know about weird, but it's a very different world from what I was used to. Campaigning at this level mainly consists of going around and meeting people, knocking on people's doors to ask for their vote. That's an adventure. I was stung by a bee, chased by dogs ... I got caught in sprinklers, I got spider webs in my face. In the NFL you're catered to, they take care of everything for you. Now here I am knocking on doors and asking for people's support. I learned a lot about politics, and a lot about myself. Would you do it again? When I got into this I knew very little about it, and learned as I went. Yeah, I would. It was very exciting. Add to that it was one of the most historic elections ever on the national level. Voter turnout was high everywhere, it really was an exciting time to be in politics. In the end it came down to 400 votes. I wish I would have won it, but it was a great experience anyway. If you would have asked me a year and a half ago if I'd ever do this, I would have said you were nuts. Will you do it again? It's hard to say right now. If the right opportunity comes along, then I would. You never know. I know it hasn't been that long since you retrired, but have you noticed any differences in the game? Every year it seems to get faster, and the players get bigger. When I played, once and awhile you'd see someone get carried off on a stretcher. Now it seems like every week someone's getting knocked out. It seems like it's a lot more violent. What are the Titans' chances of going unbeaten? They're playing some very good football right now. I think the key has been Kerry Collins taking a leadership role. That has made all the difference. Why did you decide to come back to Tallahassee to live, and then to run for office? It's a great community. I had a great career here and I knew a lot of people, and I thought I could make a difference. I met my wife here, raised my three kids. The biggest thing is the economy; there are a lot of state employees in Tallahassee, and people haven't had raises in awhile. We need creative solutions to get things going again. Peter Boulware Goes Door-To-Door In Race For Seat In the Florida House [Sports Illustrated]


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