Last week, wide receiver Anquan Boldin announced he was coming back for his 15th NFL season when he signed with the Buffalo Bills. On Sunday, Boldin told the Bills he was retiring from the sport. Check out the betting lines offered by sportsbooks this season if you want to bet on the Bills. Boldin, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, surprised the Bills with his decision to retire, but he issued a statement detailing his reason.
In his statement, Boldin, the winner of 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year award, said playing football gave him a platform to have an impact on his humanitarian work. He added that his work for human rights became a bigger priority than football, which influenced his decision to retire from the sport.
In his 14 year career, Boldin had 1,076 receptions, which put him 25 catches short of Chris Carter for 5th all time. In the history of the NFL, only 13 players have more than the 13,779 yards Boldin had in his career.
Coming out of college, Boldin wasn’t expected to be an all-time great especially after running a 4.72-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine, which is very slow for a wide receiver. The Arizona Cardinals took him with the 54th pick and Boldin proved all his pre-draft doubters wrong in his first career game, catching 10 passes for 217 yards with two touchdowns.
Boldin was the type of receiver that knew his speed was going to be a liability. He honed his other skills to make up for his lack of speed. He had very strong hands and could pull the ball down in traffic, he also ran precise routes and was one of the toughest men to ever play football.
While other receivers were making highlight reel plays and burning defensive backs, Boldin was quietly putting up better numbers than a lot of the flashy receivers. He did it for most of his career without great quarterbacks.
Boldin came close to winning the Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals, but the team fell a few inches short of their ultimate goal. A year later, the Cardinals traded him to the Baltimore Ravens for a third and fourth round pick thinking his best years were behind him.
The trade motivated Boldin and even though his numbers dropped in Baltimore compared to Arizona, he was one of the big reasons the Ravens were able to win the Super Bowl in 2012.
After the Super Bowl run with the Ravens, Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth round pick. He went on to average 84 catches and 1,120 yards in his two years with the 49ers.
After the 49ers went into rebuilding mode, Boldin signed with the Detroit Lions and was still very productive. The Lions decided they wanted to go with younger players, which made Boldin the odd man out. He was still skilled enough and signed with the Bills during the offseason.
Last week, Buffalo traded Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, and Boldin was expected to assume a bigger role in the offense. Instead, he had a greater pull from his humanitarian work and decided to focus on that.
A few years from now, Boldin will take his place among the greatest receivers to ever play the game when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.