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Anquan Boldin decides to retire

Posted by Darren Urban on August 20, 2017 – 8:34 pm

Seven full seasons have passed since Anquan Boldin last played for the Arizona Cardinals, yet in a lot of ways, it’s still very easy to think of Q as a Card. That’s what I was thinking Sunday night, when ESPN’s Jim Trotter tweeted the news that Boldin — who signed with the Bills last month — suddenly decided to retire, along with a statement from Boldin. That statement from Boldin, read in part:

“Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work, and at this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority. My life’s purpose is bigger than football.”

There is little question Boldin — who would’ve turned 37 in October — could’ve played another season. But he has gotten more into fighting for criminal justice reform as well as his various charities, and decided now was the time to flip the page. Before he signed with Buffalo, there were still plenty of Cardinals fans that wanted to see him return to Arizona (an idea that never really made sense; he and Larry Fitzgerald were virtually the same type of receiver at this point in their careers.)

Of course, Q’s departure from Arizona was not clean. Angry for not getting a new contract extension around the start of the 2008 season when he felt the organization had promised (Fitz had just gotten a huge deal himself), Boldin still had three years left on his contract at the time. He made clear he didn’t want to stay in Arizona long-term (he softened his stance some before he left) but he still had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for two NFC West winners (and one Super Bowl team) before being traded early in 2010.

It worked out for Boldin, who won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and played well for the 49ers and then the Lions last year. But make no mistake, Q’s best seasons were with the Cardinals, seasons that should earn him Hall of Fame consideration. Of his seven 1,000-yard seasons over 14 seasons, five came in Arizona. Boldin finishes with 1,076 catches, 13,779 yards and 82 TD catches (by comparison, Fitzgerald, in one less season, is at 1,125-14,389-104.)

What I’ll remember most about Q? I can’t lie, one will be the scorched earth meeting with the media after the run test to start 2008 training camp. But mostly, it was other stuff. It was coming back to play only a couple of weeks after having his jaw shattered in New York, with Boldin lying in the end zone, scarily not moving. It was when he emotionally got into opponent after opponent — Boldin wasn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he was almost always the baddest dude (like the 2:35ish mark here). It was the guy who helped provide some guidance — in football, in fatherhood — to a still maturing Fitzgerald. It was when the Cards closely guarded their secret second-round pick (he had just four catches in the 2003 preseason) and sprung him on the Lions for 10-217-2 in the opener.

It was a crazy sideline snare against the Vikings in 2009, or his big catch-and-run against the Steelers in the Super Bowl, or that knowing chuckle he’d emit when you asked him a question with a controversial bent and he knew you knew what he really thought but couldn’t say. On a personal level, it was Boldin bellowing out a welcome to me as I started my new job with azcardinals.com and the Cardinals were stretching before their first 2007 training camp practice.

Boldin was one of those key guys for the Cardinals, guys like Fitz, Adrian Wilson, Kurt Warner, Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby, guys that helped guide the organization through some ugliness of the mid-2000s to a culture change. He hasn’t been a Cardinal for seven years, but his DNA remains within the franchise.


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17 Responses to “Anquan Boldin decides to retire”

  1. By Jonathan on Aug 20, 2017 | Reply

    Gonna miss Q!

  2. By Hammy on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    Man what a great person Anquan is! He was spectacular here and helped us win a lot of football games during his time here. I will never forget the game against the Jets where Boldin got creamed in the end zone and had to get his grill fixed. To come back as early as he did from that injury was remarkable! Loved the physical way he played the game and also respected how he was so involved in the Arizona community and countless hours of volunteering his time overseas to help out those in need. We definitely need to put Anquan in the Ring of Honor! #Birdgang

  3. By Will Stone on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    Q is still one of my all-time favorite Cards. That regular season debut was truly one for the record books, and I don’t believe there has ever been a tougher receiver to play in the NFL (returning to play two and a half weeks after breaking your face? C’mon!!!). I still proudly wear his #81 jersey to Cards’ home game. Q will likely always be in my top 10 all-time Cardinals list. Toughest WR to ever wear Cardinal red.

  4. By Gerry on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    The only Cards jersey hanging in my closet. God bless, Q.

  5. By JTDG on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    Anquan Boldin;

    HOFer or Not ?

    Only 7 of his 14 years were over 1000 yards and 3 pro bowls I believe.
    But his final numbers are much better than many HOFers.

    Darren, what say you? Does Boldin deserve the Gold Jacket?

  6. By Darren Urban on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Q Hall

    I think it would be debatable. But having covered him up close for seven years and watching the impact he could make — I mean, he still meant a lot to the team here his final two years even when he was basically angry at the organization every day — I would say yes, I think he should. He made whatever team he was on better. But I can understand those who would say no.

  7. By faster on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    El mayor espectáculo de césped 2

    kudos to Q for many fun games

  8. By JohnnyBluenose on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    Boldin certainly made an impact as an Arizona Cardinal. He has other interests to pursue now and it seems unlikely that he would return to the organization in some capacity, as Adrian Wilson has. Boldin and Wilson, great players and teammates, cut from the same cloth and two of my favourite players. “Q”, well done, sir.

  9. By aschatte on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    Darren – Should the cards organization give him a 1 day contract so he retires as a Cardinal? He may have won a SB with the Ravens but I feel he deserves to retire as a Cardinal.

  10. By Darren Urban on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    aschatte —

    RE: Boldin

    I don’t see that happening. I could be wrong, but I don’t see Anquan having interest in that.

  11. By clssylssy on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    What an amazing player and even better person. Boneheaded move by the Cards not to pay him, over the protests of Fitz and Warner. Boldin definitely cut from a different cloth than todays players who don’t seem to have been given the tools or whatever to play tough and push for excellence in the face of injury, fatigue, and loss.
    I have a picture of he and Larry walking together on the field at the SB game in 2009, hanaging in my office as well as both their jerseys hanging in my closent and his Raven Jersey too). I’m certain he will make the Hall as he has been an impact player for every team he’s played, has the numbers, & has contributed so much off the field; his impact on the game and his value to his fellow players, puts him in that special class.
    When I heard of his announcement I was sad for the league, and immediately thought he belonged in the Cardinal Ring of Honor but also saddened at the probability of that happening because of the unpleasant way he left.
    Good luck to Anquan in his future endeavors, you had a great career and some of us still hold you dear to our heart!

  12. By Scott H on Aug 21, 2017 | Reply

    Will ALWAYS be one of my favorite players of all time. Top five, for sure. HOF? Not sure. But Cardinals Ring Of Fame? Yes, definitely. I can only hope the organization will embrace that and Boldin will embrace it as well. I don’t get too hung up on how he left. I only remember what a warrior he was and how tough he was.

    Have said before, will say it again here as Q retires from the game – I think it was the drafting of Anquan Boldin that marked the beginning of the turnaround for this organization that has, basically, continued to this day. Yes, other factors ( new stadium, other great players that came along shortly thereafter, emergence of Michael Bidwill in the front office, Warner’s return to greatness, etc ) played significant parts as well. But maybe it all had to start with a player who was as tough – mentally and physically – as Anquan Boldin was to get the ball rolling.

    All the best to Q and his family going forward.

  13. By Corgon on Aug 22, 2017 | Reply

    He was always one of my favorit player. Even when he played for the Niners. And I’m really happy he won the SB with the Ravens. Without him Flacco would have hit the wall in that playoff. He was his safety net. Good luck Q for the next level!

  14. By Martin Cook on Aug 22, 2017 | Reply

    One of the best to ever do it. I would be upset too if the gm told me to my face were going to take care of you and then low ball me. Thanks, Q.

  15. By Jr on Aug 28, 2017 | Reply

    Yes HOF receiver. He has more receptions & TDs than Lynn Swann & John Stallworth combined who are both in hall.

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