A final Q rating

Posted by Darren Urban on March 7, 2010 – 4:38 pm

Here is a portion of the Saturday notebook I wrote for the East Valley Tribune on Sept. 6, 2003 – a day before Anquan Boldin made his NFL debut: “Boldin had just four catches for 44 yards in the preseason. But he has impressed coaches throughout training camp, and there was a sense the Cards scaled back his work in the exhibition games in part to hide their newfound gem.”

The next day, of course, Boldin had 10 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. And everyone knew about Q then.

I suppose every player creates some memories when he plays for a team for seven years. Maybe Boldin’s were just a little more memorable when he meant what he meant to the team. He was the guy you wanted to watch during those rough days of 2003 when the rest of the team didn’t bring much to celebrate. His was the knee injury that was crushing in 2004, even though the Cards had added rookies like Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby. He’s the one who made those amazing catch-and-runs, pinballing off tacklers for touchdowns against the Panthers, 49ers and Rams.

He’s the one who was the emotional heart-and-soul of the Cards so many times (I still believe it was Boldin’s efforts, with an injured Fitzgerald on the sideline, that energized both the offense and defense and would have propelled the Cards to a Monday night upset against the Bears if, well, you know).

He’s the one who suffered that sickening blow in New York – I happened to be down on the field, and watching it from 25 yards away, I wasn’t sure he was getting up – and the one who came back just three weeks later and play well in Carolina.

There was a reason the fans loved him.

“The fans have been nothing but supportive and I am thankful for that,” Boldin said at Kurt Warner’s flag football tourney, the day after he was traded to the Ravens. “Since I have been out here, they have accepted me, and I have tried to play my heart out for them.”

Of course, Boldin created other memories too, ones that eventually led to what was once the unthinkable – Boldin ending his career somewhere besides Arizona. I suppose we’ll never know exactly what happened for sure between the team and Boldin in terms of what was promised about another contract. Once Boldin made what I call the “Scorched-earth speech” – his post-conditioning run speech on the opening day of training camp 2008 when he hammered the team and insisted he’d never sign an extension – the clock on his time as a Cardinal was counting down.

It seemed to eat at Boldin all of 2008, as many noticed. He said the other day his proudest moment was getting to the Super Bowl, but as we went through that run, it never seemed Q quite enjoyed it as much as he should have or could have. And in a bit of irony, the addition to his contract he just took from the Ravens here in 2010 was actually similar – if not a little less – than the deal the Cards offered to tack on to Boldin’s contract a couple years ago. Now, I understand circumstances were a bit different at the time, but still …

That’s all moot now, though.

Personally, I prefer to think of other times. He was the player standing in the middle of his stretching teammates who bellowed my name in a welcome the first full day of training camp 2007 — after I had moved from the newspaper biz to the team.  I think of that knowing laugh Anquan always had whenever you asked a question that he really wanted to bluntly answer, but knew he couldn’t publicly go that direction. I think of him snatching that ball out of the air against Minnesota. I think about his primal scream after his catch-and-run in the Super Bowl to set up a score.

Both Boldin and coach Ken Whisenhunt said it was time for Boldin to move on, and on that point, I agree. Everything is still raw right now, yet time heals much. I am still hopeful that, one day, Boldin and the franchise will be able to put whatever issues that exist behind them.

But it was quite the ride while he was here.

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68 Responses to “A final Q rating”

  1. By Secret on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with the trade the Cards made. The cardinals are the only team in the league that could afford to trade a WR like Boldin, because of the depth they have at that position.

  2. By Josh on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Great piece Darren. My hope is that Q will retire a Cardinal. You never know, maybe after the next 4 seasons he’ll be on the back nine and want to finish where he started his legacy. He’s going to be missed by both fans & the team.

  3. By 949cardsfan on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Q, you Da’ Man! Thanks for playing your heart out each and every week. You are the epitemy of a true pro. Everyone knew you werent happy, but you still kept giving 110%. It’was time for you to leave, both sides will be better for it. Good luck my friend.

  4. By Matt on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Great article. Q, you will be missed.

  5. By chocks on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Will miss his unique style of play that no other reciever has to offer. I actually do believe that boldin is better than fitzgerald when healthy. Also I have noticed that when boldin makes a big play it is the biggest emotional boost for our team. I was at the superbowl and it was lookin bad the offense was struggling and with a 40yard catch and run by boldin the team suddenly had a spark. Its a shame we lost that game because of some poor calls because I would want Q to win his superbowl with us. Unfotunatetly that’s part of buisness and now we will have to see Q win his superbowl elsewhere and he will get his I know it the guy is a competitor. I just wish it could be with us:( also Darren is there any way u can put a word in to get his number put in the ring of honor? he deserves it him and adrian have been here from the start. Thanks

  6. By Patrick on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Boldin was great. With an exclamation point.

    Boldin also brought this trade upon himself. There is no new contract until the ink is dry. That is life. Anything before that is best efforts. He called management liars and signed his own pink slip. That is his prerogative. We all sleep in the bed we make. I will miss his play on the field, one of the best Cards ever.. I suppose he has matured and that is why he has softened his comments in the last year, but alas, it was too late. His slip was signed a year earlier.

    Looking forward to Early and Often and Steve the Beast. Whiz likes Hyphen as a gadget guy, Beanie willl be a great receiver, Hightower already is and Patrick and Byrd can catch too. Maybe we’ll draft a tight end, word is they are a plenty.

    The beat goes on. Go Cards.

  7. By Steve on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for the great memories Q!!! Good luck to ya!!!

  8. By Paul Liccardi on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    i realize that its a buisness and that you cant resign everybody, i was wondering what the plan is to replace these players without missing a beat, i know that if anyone can keep this success going it is coach whiz and his staff, i just dont want to go back to the old days, i have been a cardinal fan true red since 1975, i love this winning tradtion, we cardinal fans waited a long time for this last couple years,
    thank you coach whiz and your staff.

    Paul Liccardi

  9. By fitz 4 mt rushmore on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Ah the memories of #81!!! His fire & leadership will be deeply missed. I will never forget meeting him at the Super Bowl in Houston after he won the offensive rookie of the year award as he signed a helmet for me. He asked questions about me & laughed with me. His name & number will soon be put in the ROH at the UoP. Thanks for the memories Quan!!!

  10. By Erik on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    The guy is a beast! This is a good piece on him. I just want to say thank you Darren for all of your hard work, keeping the news coming.

  11. By Justin on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    I will always remember Boldin as one of the players who turned this franchise around and did it with class and sheer determination. I wish it hadn’t ended this way, but I still wish Boldin the best, well, 4th best, right behind Fitzgerald, Breaston, and Doucet.

    Darren, any word (or opinion) on if Boldin will eventually retire as a Cardinal?

  12. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Justin —

    I doubt it. There is a lot of water under that bridge. My comments were more about way down the road.

  13. By Kevin on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Great read! Thanks Q! Good luck except when you play us! You will always be one of my favorite Cards!

  14. By Tyman on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    think the Cardinals should go get mcnabb from the eagles, lienard is unproven and mcnabb trains in arizona and would be able to handle the offence. If the cards want fits there in 4 years they need to get hem a qb. Q was good and prob should have not traded hem if we were going to go with lienard, team did good keeping hem for warner last year but its time to move on i think.

  15. By Ruben R on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply


  16. By John on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    As Boldin moves on, think what he brings the Ravens.
    This is a team with a good young QB, great running game, a good TE and solid defense. Q may be the missing piece. We will all miss him, but dont feel bad for him. He is now the #1 guy on a playoff team. He’s OK.

    Tyman, drop the McNabb stuff. Never going to happen. Besides, watch that eagle-cardinal championship game again. The eagles win that game if McNabb could hit his open guys, especially on the last drive where he missed two wide open receivers.

    If he was the answer, Philly wouldn’t want him out. I’ll take my chances with Leinart. He has been sitting for a while, but I still remember the Bears-Cardinals game on monday night. Although the team folded and the bears took the lead, Matt drove his team down the field for the winning field goal against the number 1 defense. OK , we missed the kick , but not Matts fault.
    It makes sense to see what weve got.With a good running game and drafting him a TE, he should be alright. Besides, when in doubt, throw it up to Fitz. Remember Denny said he was a gift from Heaven.

  17. By CARDSFAN1178124 on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply


  18. By Jason Terry on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    What about Davone Bess coming to arizona for more depth at the receiver position? Fitz, Breaston, Doucet, and Bess would be unstoppable.

  19. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Jason —

    I don’t see WR being a big FA priority.

  20. By gordo on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    we should trade matt and a late pick to the eagel for mcnabb..

  21. By NM Cards Fan on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    DU , I hope you have a long term contract LOL!!!! , great Q piece

    the hard work you do reminds me of Bo from he republic, went to school and played sports with him so I have kept-ed up with his work and his writings for many years , he is non stop like you ,
    great job for the info you give us

  22. By Ruben R on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply


  23. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Ruben —

    The Cards will not take a WR in the first round.

  24. By John on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Onrea Jones showed a little something last year. He could compete for that #4 WR.


    One other thing, Is Becht retiring ?

  25. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    John —

    I don’t think Becht wants to retire. And the Cards want him back.

  26. By Mack on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    If we really need a receiver, just get McGaha in the sixth or seventh round as a #4 receiver. I’ve watched him a lot at Asu, he has fantastic hands.

  27. By Eazy E on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    I like that darren. Great Job!!! Anquan was definitely a fan favorite. He was tough, physical, and could do it all. He could catch a screen and take it to the house, a slant, or a sluggo(slant and go). He’s an outstanding player and person. People that was trying to say he was selfish, a crybaby or whatever needs to shut up because that’s definitely not Anquan. He just wanted elite WR money, what’s wrong with that? He was significantly underpaid being that he’s one of the best in the league. He was my favorite player, but he is on the ravens now, im going to still root for him and all but cardinals first.

  28. By Peter in Canada on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Darren- you are so right about WR not being a priority. Given your answer to me on the Rhodes blog would you say LB is the priority right now?

  29. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Peter —

    Maybe LB or defensive tackle.

  30. By gordo on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    news flash!!!! coach whiz and haggans were havin dinner in pitts 2gether hes visitin az on thuresday!!!!1

  31. By gordo on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    oh with joey porter visits az on thuresday

  32. By Joe-B on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren, do you know where to find the video of Boldins first game against the Lions? I looked on You Tube but I couldn’t find it.

  33. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Joe-B —

    I don’t know if it is out there.

  34. By Chocks21 on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Joey porter visiting Thursday YESSSSSS!!!!!!!

  35. By Derek on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply


    David Carr signed with the 49ers. But I’m sure you knew that. So where do they go for QB now?

  36. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Derek —

    Good question. We will see.

  37. By Brian R. on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    I guess its time to frame his jersey that I got for my 16th bday in 2008. Goodbye Q…

  38. By josh on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    darren, any interest in DE jarvis green of the patriots?

  39. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Josh —

    I don’t think so.

  40. By Taylor Price on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply


    What do you think of this?

    Doubt it will happen.

  41. By darrenurban on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Taylor —

    The Cards have zero interest in Vick.

  42. By Red Cards on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Bolden was a great player .But in the end his heart just wasnt in it….Good luck Q hope you got what you wanted …..

  43. By Walter on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Great article Darren, you should put together a tribute video. That would be cool. Q, thanks for the highlight reel.

  44. By Andrew on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    What is our situation with our #4 WR? Is Urban gone this offseason or is he still holding that spot down??

  45. By darrenurban on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Andrew —

    Urban is a FA for now but he might return. Who becomes the No. 4 won’t be determined until camp.

  46. By CARDSFAN1178124 on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply


  47. By JakePlummer716 on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Anquan Boldin, Thank you for playing your heart out and helping to change the franchise here in Arizona! You will truly be missed!

  48. By Big Red on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Its hard to see Boldin leave, but hope you remember, us Cardinal Fans when you play the Steelers, and beat the crap out of them for us fans. Get even for the Super Bowl lose. May you have a great season with the Ravens, I’ll be watching you on the Directv nfl sunday ticket. I’m waiting for your new jersey of the Ravens to come out so I can buy it. GO RAVENS! and again thanks for the memories. Remember us during the winter when your playing in Baltimore.

  49. By Mike Sec117 Row8 on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    GREAT article. Q we will miss you and as others have said and I have thought that it would be nice to see you retire as a Cardinal. Wish you nothing but success in Baltimore. MUCH LUV!

  50. By JerryWayne on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    We remember the good times, but in my opinion, Boldin didn’t act like a true professional in the end. It’s a shame really. Good luck to him. Hopefully Q can find his quan

  51. By Rugbymuffin on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Sad, sad day.

    Regardless of what was gained, lost, and that “it was time.”

    By far my favorite Cardinal player of all time, and he will be missed.

    Just does not seem right that Anquan Boldin didn’t finish his career as a Cardinal.

    Best of luck to Q.

    Turn the page.

  52. By Richard Moore on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Really good piece Darren. Q was inspirational to all of us. Coaches, Players, (as you so rightfully pointed out, writers), and especially us fans. Ne had a special way of acknowleging that ANYONE connected to the Cardinals organization was important to him, and thus important to the team. We all loved the guy for his absolute fearlessness, and his willingness to give of himself, more than others were willing to do. He inspired all, (fans included), to be just a little bit more loyal than we probably would have been. Whatever happened in between, while it diminished the glow, could not take away from what he brought to the table every game. I have nothing but good thoughts to send with him as he goes on his way. I will miss him, but I thank him for great memories.

  53. By latch on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply


    You really do a good job, but don,t you think it’s time to quit the constant Q and Rolle coverage? I think it’s a slap in the face to our current players.

    It’s funny to me that I have not heard one word about Q standing flat footed and never making an effort to knock down the pass or even any effort to tackle Harrison on the INT when he stepped in front of the great one and ran 99 yards and a score.

  54. By darrenurban on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Latch —

    Anquan was the story of the weekend. Period. I doubt current players take that as a slap in the face.

  55. By christian on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    man its hard to know Q isnt a cardinal anymore man he was the man. hopefully doucet will bring alot to the table. i bet anything Q gonna be takin the ravens to the superbowl watch good qb now has someone to thro to. man, i hope he comes back to az and retire in the ring of honor. it jus sucks i never got to meet him, hope u come and visit in az Q or come out one last time to your fans. ill be cheering u on in the black and purple uniform, but when cardinals play you in the superbowl you know we takin it. haha.. man.

  56. By Ditship on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Q will be missed. It’s not as painful as A.Williams leaving to the Rams (because we all hoped he’d get a ring with them and he didn’t leave under bad terms) but I still get that feeling. Q brought my heart back to the Cardinals his rookie year. We were still losing.. BADLY.. but he made it fun to watch football at SDS again.. Something that had been missing for a few years at that point.

  57. By Mike"Pay Q" on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Latch, sorry to be so brutal, but you are an idiot if you think Anquan stood “flat footed, and never gave an effort to knock the pass down”. H ewas 3 yards away from Harrison and running in the other direction. Why don’t you read the “super bowl book” that came out where is was proven Fitz did not run hard for the 1st 20 yards in pursuit. You wanna blame someone blame Kurt for a bad read, Rolle for getting in Fitz’s way blocking the tackle, or just praise Harrison for a great play.

    If you think it is a slap in the face of our current players to give thanks to the Cards’ all time leading receiver than you know nothing about this team or football.

  58. By darrenurban on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Mike “Pay Q”, Latch —

    Unfortunately, there was plenty of blame to go around on the Super Bowl play. Boldin also lined up wrong. I think it’s safe to say that if the Cards had done one of about 10 things on that play, the Steelers don’t get a touchdown.

  59. By JerryWayne on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    shoot, if the refs could have kept up with that play the Steelers don’t get a touchdown. So many wack things happened to allow that.

  60. By Leesters on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Boldin was my favorite Cardinal of all time. Second to Larry Centers, so I’ve seen a few years.
    I always hoped Q would finish his career here, and get on the Ring of Honor.
    I will miss him, and he just won’t look right in purple.

  61. By Michael on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Greatest ARIZONA Cardinal of all time.

  62. By Andy on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply


    You may not know the answer (or be able to say), but with regards to the whole source of this “the promise”, do you think Q’s take is more accurate, or is it more like when you were a kid and your parents said they’d try to do something for you and when it came back up again, you’d say “but you promised” turning their stated desire into a promise from your perspective? My sense is the 2nd option, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

  63. By darrenurban on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Andy —

    Honestly, I could see both sides being possible. And it happened so long ago. It’s a he-said-he-said that’ll never truly be resolved.

  64. By chrisstumper on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Great article thanks Darren. Q I believe you helped changed the position forever. Your toughness and mental abilities made you practically unstoppable at times. I have been an Arizona Cardinal fan from Day 1 and you are the only person that I can thank for the reason I still am. I appreciate everything you did for this football team on and off the field. Cant expect you to be perfect because we are all human. You will be missed and we all wish you and your family the best !

  65. By Scott H on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    I’m so sorry to see this mighty warrior go. I tried to watch some of his introductory press conf. in Baltimore and I just couldn’t bear to see him holding up a purple Raven’s jersey. His character and toughness were his calling cards, and the loss of his emotional leadership will leave a void not easily filled. While Warner, Fitzgerald, and coach Whiz were all necessary to getting this team to where it’s been the past few seasons, make no mistake – it ALL started when they drafted Boldin. Period. His arrival was truly the beginning of the transformation. I thank him for all that he did and all that he was for this team. As far as departures go, I would compare this to when Aeneas Williams left for St Louis. And like Williams, Boldin is a tremendous loss on many different levels. I wish him nothing but the best because he’s been nothing but the best.

  66. By Cards24fan on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    You will be missed Q! This fan and her family will follow you with the Ravens too. Maybe one day you’ll come back to retire as a Cardinal.

    God bless you and your family.

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