Boldin burned Niners for six catches in Super Bowl
If you can’t beat ’em, try and go get ’em for youself. That’s what the 49ers have done with Anquan Boldin, who gave them fits for so many years with Arizona, and then more recently in Super Bowl XLVII, when the veteran wide receiver helped lead the Baltimore Ravens over San Francisco, which acquired Boldin on Monday for a sixth-round draft pick.
After helping the Ravens over the 49ers 34-31 for the NFL title on February 3 – Boldin led Baltimore with six receptions for 104 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown reception that gave the Ravens a lead they never would relinquish – Boldin is now poised to join the Niners, pending a physical he still must pass to complete the deal.
Boldin should fit in immediately with the 49ers as a starting complement to Michael Crabtree, who emerged this past season as a legitimate No. 1 receiver while leading San Francisco with career-high totals of 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. But no other San Francisco wideout had more than 42 receptions.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Boldin has had at least 56 receptions in each of his 10 NFL seasons, the last three of which were spent with the Ravens. Boldin had two seasons of 100 receptions or more with the Cardinals, with whom he was a constant thorn in the side of the San Francisco defense during his seven seasons in Arizona from 2003-2009.
Boldin led the Ravens with 65 receptions for 921 yards last season. His career totals include 772 receptions for 10,165 yards, a 13.2 average, and 58 touchdowns.
Niners cornerback Tarell Brown, who was matched up against Boldin several times in the Super Bowl, expressed the Niners’ excitement in acquiring another top talent for their emerging offense.
“A player of that caliber, someone who has played in so many big games, made so many great plays, it is special,” Brown said Monday on the NFL Network. “ It definitely helps our team out and we are looking forward to having him.
“(He’s) a guy that can play inside and outside, makes big catches – you saw what he did in the Super Bowl as well – a physical guy, a guy who competes on every down, every play. So it will be a great addition to our team.”
The 49ers formally announced the deal on Tuesday. Boldin expressed surprise at the trade and thanked the Ravens' supporters in a series of posts on Twitter.
''I would like to thank the Ravens fans for their incredible support for myself and my family throughout my years in Baltimore,'' he said Tuesday. ''I am grateful in getting to know you and will miss what I call home. I thought this was the last stop of my career but regardless of the circumstances I came here to win a Championship ... and in February we came home Champions. For my future in San Francisco, I will leave that in God's hands.''
Now, the 32-year-old Boldin will switch from playing for John Harbaugh to younger brother and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh as the receiver begins his 11th NFL season.
''We are excited to add Anquan to our roster,'' 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. ''He is a highly competitive and productive player with strong leadership qualities that will be a welcome addition to our team and community.''
Last spring, the 49ers did something similar when they signed wideout Mario Manningham and running back Brandon Jacobs, both from the New York Giants - the team that beat the 49ers in overtime of the NFC championship game.
With Manningham coming back from reconstructive left knee surgery and Randy Moss not expected to return after one season in San Francisco, Boldin brings the kind of big playmaking ability that should fit in well with strong-armed Kaepernick and complement Crabtree in the offense.
Boldin was due to earn $6 million this season in the final year of his contract. After he and the Ravens failed to agree on a restructured deal, Baltimore worked the swap with San Francisco rather than simply cut him from the roster.
Boldin and former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald were in West Africa continuing their efforts with international relief. Boldin was expected to remain in Africa through Thursday and was not immediately available for comment aside from his Twitter posts, and the 49ers won't plan anything formal until he passes a physical.
The Ravens announced the trade Monday, prompting a disappointed response from quarterback Joe Flacco.
''Anquan was a great receiver for myself and for our football team,'' said Flacco, who signed a six-year, $120.6 million deal with the Ravens last week. ''It's sad to see a guy like that go, but at the same time you want what's best for him and you just wish him the best of luck.
''Anquan was a big part of this football team, a big part of this offense. He's one of the many reasons we won the Super Bowl this year.''
The 32-year-old Boldin had said he'd consider retirement rather than leave Baltimore. But going to the NFC champions might change his mind.
Boldin was sensational in the postseason, totaling 16 receptions for 276 yards and three scores.
Boldin was also a strong voice in the locker room and a teacher to second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith, who will likely become Flacco's top target in 2013.
''Definitely shocked,'' Smith said of the deal. ''You lose a great guy, a great leader. A mentor. All of that.''
Smith was more concerned about being in the huddle without Boldin than taking over as the Ravens' top pass-catching threat.
''It's not so much about football when you lose someone like that, someone you love like a brother and would do anything for you,'' Smith said.
Boldin spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with Arizona, which lost the 2009 Super Bowl to Pittsburgh. In that game, Boldin caught eight passes for 84 yards.
He came to Baltimore in a trade before the 2010 season. The team reached the playoffs during all three of his seasons with the Ravens.
''A veteran like that, you lose a lot,'' Jones said. ''You learn a lot of routes from him, moves, what he sees. He passed that on to us.''