Ballware, 48, said he had no intention of making a living in auto retail when he first invested in the dealership. “In the offseason, he just wanted to check his investments,” Bowlware said, adding that he asked a lot of questions during his visit.
But eventually, he found one of his post-football careers.
Ballware also dabbled in politics, running for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, winning the Republican primary in August 2008 and then narrowly losing in the November 2008 general election. Ballware is also a former member of the Florida Board of Education, and in 2009 he and his wife Kenzie founded Community His Leadership Academy, a private Christian school in Tallahassee.
Boulware said he was grateful to have a second store, but said it introduced new challenges.
“The Columbia market is a little different than the Tallahassee market,” Ballware said. “The Colombian team has a different flavor, a different style. I’m both carbon copies and would like everything to be done exactly the same way, but it’s as easy as it can be But you have to manage both stores.It’s a little bit different.”
The four-time Pro Bowler said operating stores in different states makes traveling difficult. He said he can only go to South Carolina a few times a month. His day job is the store in Tallahassee, where he lived full time and attended college.
Bowlware studied Management Information Systems at Florida State University and had an outstanding junior season as one of the nation’s top pass rushers. During that season, he recorded his FSU record 19 sacks in a nation-leading single season and was named the 1996 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Bowlware with the 4th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. He played with the team throughout his 2005 season, but was sidelined in 2004 with his knee injury.
Ballware, the NFL’s 1997 Defensive Rookie of the Year, has 70 career sacks, ranking second in the Ravens’ all-time list. A favorite hit that Ballware remembers was not scored as a sack, but he brought former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan His Marino to the ground.
“I remember just sitting on the ground and grabbing his leg. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m grabbing one of my heroes.’ I had to pay up and be reminded, “No, no, he’s a competitor now.”