Seattle Seahawk Michael Boulware stopped by the FSU practice fields Monday, just days removed from attending the ESPY awards in Los Angeles. Wife and former Seminole softball standout Jessica van der Linden was nominated in the Female Performance of the Year category but fell short to former UConn guard Diana Taurasi.
"I'm sitting there with all the best athletes in the world in one room," Boulware said. "I was really nervous. I didn't know what to do. (Jessica) enjoyed it. She didn't know many of the stars – maybe one or two - so she wasn't as nervous as I was. I was scared to move."
Just married earlier in the month, Boulware said that it was decided early on that Jessica's playing days were over once he was drafted by an NFL franchise. Jessica was named the Honda Player of the Year after a standout senior season in which she led the Seminoles to a 60-win season and a berth in the College World Series. She also owns several of FSU's career records, both in the batter's box and as a pitcher.
"We really discussed it a lot and how it was going to affect our relationship," he said. "There was no way we could do both. She chose the marriage over a career but I want her to stay involved somehow, maybe giving lessons. Unless things change in the next two years, it's over for her."
Another change involves where Boulware lines up on the gridiron. The 220-pounder, who came to FSU originally as a wide receiver, is learning how to play strong safety after starting at weak-side linebacker for three years for the Seminoles. He's been using Seattle's mini-camps to get a grip on the new position.
"Football is football. If you're lining up in the right place and covering the right person, you're going to do alright," he said. "It's definitely easier on my body. I go from being the smallest guy at my position to the biggest guy. I think its going to be a good fit for me. I'm loving the game out there."
Adjusting to the tempo of an NFL practice environment has provided another challenge.
"Our team doesn't have much contact but the tempo is up there for sure. Mentally they overload you. I'm trying to catch up more mentally and not physically."
Boulware said he'd try to catch his former teammates in action this season if an off date permits him too but that the hike from the Pacific Northwest might prevent that. The distance has already played a part, with Boulware saying "he hadn't heard much" about events in Tallahassee since he left.
His take on the 2004 season:
"At linebacker they have a great group coming in. A lot of guys on the NFL are talking high about what Florida State is going to do this year. Hopefully getting Miami early…. that makes a difference and we can get a win this time. But you never know when it comes to Miami."