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Anquan Boldin, Wide receiver, Baltimore

 

Copywriter, J. Hagedorn | Photographer, K. Firkus, S. Adamak | Videographer, C. Wild

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The Making of a Beast

Off the field, Anquan Boldin is a soft-spoken, humble, giving, family man. On the field, he is a competitive, forceful, hard-nosed, tackle-breaking beast for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are known traditionally as a loyal, intense, winning franchise. That's why Anquan fits right in. When talking about the Ravens he says, "We have a great locker room. Organization is first class. The thing that I'm most proud about is that I came to an organization that has a chance to compete for a championship every year. No matter what year it is, the Ravens are gonna be a team to be reckoned with. We have a great core of guys on our team."

 

Last season, his first in Baltimore for the Ravens, "Q" led the team with 64 catches, 837 yards and seven touchdowns. Prior to joining the Ravens, Anquan played for the Arizona Cardinals where he was an animal. As a rookie for the Cardinals in 2003, he had 101 catches for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to being named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

 

Over the next seven years, Boldin would become one of the premiere wide receivers in the game, racking up 650 catches for 8,357 yards and 51 touchdowns. He has averaged double-digit yards-per-catch every season and was named to the Pro Bowl again in 2006 and 2008. In 2008, he played just 12 games and had 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns. He helped carry the Cardinals to the Super Bowl and came within one play of winning it all.

 

Hard to believe one of the best wide receivers in the league wasn't always catching passes. Throughout high school and going into college, Anquan was a quarterback. After sitting on the sideline as the third-string quarterback his freshman year, he decided to talk to Florida State coach Bobby Bowden about getting some playing time. He switched to wide receiver and ended up contributing to the Seminoles in a big way, catching 21 TDs in 23 career games.

 

After the Cardinals drafted Boldin with the 54th overall pick, he has had a super successful career. But until he gets a Super Bowl ring, he will stay hungry. When asked about his competitive nature he says, "For me, I'm just a competitor. I hate to lose. I would do anything not to lose. I guess if you ask me, I'm not supposed to lose at anything and that was my attitude growing up. I would be mad, ready to fight if I lost anything growing up. And my mom was like "you can't win everything" but in my mind, I'm like I'm supposed to so, that's always been my mindset."

 

Boldin isn't your average pro athlete. When discussing what makes him different than other wide receivers, he says: "I think the thing that differentiates me from other receivers is just mentality-wise. In this league, the receivers are known as divas (he laughs) — guys that are soft and that's a statement I really don't want put on me. I tell a lot of people, 'I'm not a receiver I'm a football player. Whatever I need to do to win the game I'm more than willing to do.' "

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