Arizona Cardinals fractured relationship with former wideout

Anquan Boldin‘s decision to retire as a Baltimore Raven last year was essentially a slap in the face to the Arizona Cardinals

This past October, one of the greatest wide receivers to ever wear an Arizona Cardinals uniform announced his retirement. Anquan Boldin, who has registered the second-most receptions in Cards history, was calling it quits after 14 NFL campaigns. The pass-catcher’s farewell would surely be a proud moment for an Arizona club that drafted Boldin back in 2003, correct?

Unfortunately, Boldin elected to rob his former organization of that honor. The Cardinals were basically slapped in the face by their longtime wideout, who surprisingly chose to retire as a Baltimore Raven. Boldin had logged an outstanding seven seasons in the desert, but obviously decided that the three he spent with Baltimore were more dear to his heart.

Boldin’s backers would likely point to the fact that their man won a Super Bowl championship back in 2013 with the Ravens. The receiver played a huge part in that victory, hauling in six passes for 104 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers. Be that as it may, let it be pointed out that Boldin did make it to a Super Bowl with the Cards (following the 2008 campaign) as well.

There are several factors that could lead one to believe that Boldin should’ve retired as a Cardinal. In seven years with the squad, the former second-round draft pick tallied 586 receptions, 7,520 receiving yards and 44 touchdowns. During his three campaigns with Baltimore, Boldin totaled just 186 catches, 2,645 receiving yards and 14 scores in 45 regular-season contests.

As a starter with Arizona, Boldin topped 100 catches in a season twice (2003, 2005), and also recorded five 1000-yard campaigns. In addition, the former Florida State University product’s stint with the Cards included the only three Pro Bowl appearances of his career. Boldin was also named the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year following his sensational play as a youngster in ’03.

Things began to go sour between Boldin and the team during the NFC Championship in January of 2009. Upset that he wasn’t on the field, the veteran directed a sideline tirade at offensive coordinator Todd Haley during Arizona’s crucial game-winning scoring drive. It was an incredibly selfish act by Boldin, who was obviously thinking of nothing but himself at such an important moment for the team.

The relationship between Boldin and the Cardinals began to crumble months before that incident, when Larry Fitzgerald was signed to a four-year, $40 million contract. The veteran demanded a raise that was on par with his receiving partner, and then asked to be traded after Arizona’s front office refused to give it to him. Boldin lasted for two more years with the Redbirds after that, before being finally dealt to the Ravens in 2010.

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Anyone who watched Boldin’s retirement press conference would’ve noticed that he didn’t even acknowledge the Cards. There was no thank you or kind words for the organization that drafted him. One thing’s for sure, the Cardinals deserved better treatment than that from one of the most productive performers in franchise history.


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