Anquan Boldin, Former 49er WR, Retiring After 14 NFL Seasons

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 03: Anquan Boldin
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 03: Anquan Boldin /

Former San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Anquan Boldin is retiring after 14 seasons in the NFL, just ahead of his 15th year.

Just two weeks before what would have been his 15th season in the NFL, wide receiver Anquan Boldin has decided to hang up his cleats and call it a career. Boldin signed with the Buffalo Bills on August 7th this year, but is stepping away from the game a little less than two weeks later.

Boldin was a second-round pick (54th overall) in 2006 out of Florida State, and would go on to play seven seasons in the desert. He would later go on to play three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, three more with the San Francisco 49ers, and one season with the Detroit Lions.

The 36-year-old Boldin caught 1,076 passes in his career, good for ninth on the all-time receptions list. He racked up 13,779 receiving yard and 82 touchdowns, both numbers that rank 14th all-time. He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2003, a three-time Pro Bowler, and won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2015.

Boldin was part of the Baltimore Ravens team that won Super Bowl XLVII in early 2013, and caught six balls for 104 yards and a touchdown in the championship game. In the following offseason, Bolding joined the team that was on the losing side in that Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers. He played three seasons in the Bay Area, from 2013 to 2015.

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In his first year with San Francisco, Boldin caught 85 passes for 1,179 yards and scored seven times while playing all 16 games. The 49ers made a run through the playoffs that year, and Boldin made 16 receptions worth 227 yards, and also scored once. Unfortunately, the 49ers lost to their archrivals, the Seattle Seahawks, in the NFC Championship Game.

Boldin was again on the field for all 16 games in 2014, catching 83 passes for 1,062 yards and five scores. He missed two games in 2015, which turned out to be his last year with the squad, but still put together a solid campaign. He made 69 grabs for 789 yards, and scored four times.

Boldin will go down as one of the toughest players in the league. His most notable feat came in 2008, when he suffered a broken jaw and a broken nose during a vicious, violent hit from Jets’ safety Eric Smith. He returned to the field less than a month later and played with his jaw wired shut. Boldin played the final eight games of the season and caught 62 passes for 672 yards and six scores, and made 14 more catches for 190 yards in three playoff games. The Cardinals went on to lose in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rather than go through another season, Boldin is instead turning his attention to worthy causes off the field. In a statement to ESPN, Boldin said that “Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work”, but is stepping away because “my life’s purpose is bigger than football.”

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Boldin created the Q81 Foundation, dedicated to “expanding the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children”. He has also dedicated part of his time to fighting for criminal justice reform after his cousin, Corey Jones, was shot to death in 2015.