Former Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver David Boston was a monster on the football field and a controversial figure off of it
The Arizona Cardinals were holding the eighth pick of the 1999 NFL Draft and were on the clock. Wide receiver was not a position of need at the time, but there was a pass-catcher sitting there who was hard to resist. The selection would turn out to be one of the most controversial in the club’s history.
Ohio State’s David Boston was taken, joining an Arizona receiving corps that already featured Rob Moore and Frank Sanders. The pick was certainly of the “best player available ” variety, since Moore and Sanders were both solid starters. If the Cards’ brass had known everything there was to know about Boston’s character, there’s a good possibility they would’ve went in a different direction.
Boston’s impact on the field was undeniable. As the Cardinals’ third receiver on the depth chart in ’99, the rookie caught 40 passes for 473 yards and two touchdowns. It was quickly evident that the 6’2″, 228 lb stud was a mismatch for most of the cornerbacks attempting to cover him.
His role increased in 2000, when he tallied 71 receptions for 1,156 yards and seven scores. In 2001 Boston was even better, hauling in 98 balls for 1,598 yards and eight touchdowns. His excellent ’01 campaign earned him a Pro Bowl trip, and his future was looking bright.
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Just one year later the bottom fell out. Season-ending knee surgery ended his 2002 season after eight games. He would never catch another pass for Arizona.
After Boston tested positive for cocaine and marijuana following a DUI arrest, the Cardinals had had enough. They made no attempt to re-sign him when he became an unrestricted free agent in 2003. The San Diego Chargers ignored the red flags and inked Boston to a seven-year, $47 million contract ($12 million guaranteed).
A year later, the Chargers realized that they had made a huge mistake. Multiple team infractions led to them shipping Boston to the Miami Dolphins in 2004 for a 2005 conditional sixth-round draft pick. But his troubles were far from over.
His tenure with the Dolphins got off to a terrible start when he tested positive for steroids. His 2004 Miami debut was put on hold when he served a four-game suspension for the positive test at the beginning of the season. He then missed the remainder of ’04 when he tore ligaments in his knee.
Boston was then cut by Miami, and re-signed by the team for the 2005 season (the new contract was for the veteran minimum). He once again suffered torn knee ligaments after playing in just five contests in ’05.
Apparently gluttons for punishment, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed the troubled receiver in 2006. He was released in September of 2007 after a DUI. After a failed stint in the CFL, Boston’s professional football days were finally over.
Life after football hasn’t been great for Boston. In December of 2012, he was convicted of punching a woman in the head at a home in Boca Raton, Florida. He was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation.
The Cards learned fairly early on the kind of individual Boston was. No matter how much potential management thought he had, they just weren’t gonna put up with his antics. Wasted talent is a awful thing.