Back in March 2010, after winning back-to-back NFC West titles, the Arizona Cardinals made the decision to trade veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens for third and fourth round draft picks.
Many felt it was the wrong move at the time. Those same people had the opportunity to say ‘I told you so’ following Boldin’s outstanding performance in Super Bowl XLVII Sunday. The 32-year-old had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore’s 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Among those who felt the trade was a mistake three years ago: former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.
“In my opinion, no doubt,” Warner said during an interview with Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Monday. “You can look at Anquan and you can look at his tangibles — how fast he runs and things like that.
“But there are special players in this game that have intangibles that want the ball when the game is on the line, that bring their competitiveness and bring guys up around them that want the ball in critical moments and say ‘throw it to me, I will find a way to make a play,’ — that was always Anquan Boldin.”
After being a second round pick of the Cardinals in 2003, Boldin immediately made his impact felt. The former Florida State star caught 10 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL game, a 42-24 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Boldin would go on to play seven seasons in Arizona, and is still the Cardinals’ fourth all-time leading receiver with 586 catches for 7,520 yards and 44 touchdowns.
“You can’t let those kind of guys go because they’re just not a dime a dozen,” Warner said.
Boldin’s stay in Arizona wasn’t without controversy. During training camp in 2008, Boldin expressed disappointment with the Cardinals’ failure to reward him with a contract extension. And then, during the NFC Championship Game that same season, Boldin had a heated exchange on the sideline with then-offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Boldin caught criticism for leaving the field during the postgame celebration instead of enjoying the franchise’s first NFC Championship with teammates and fans.
“That incident with Anquan and Todd, I really believe that all of it stemmed from the same things,” Warner explained. “I think it stemmed from the fact that he had given everything to this football team, and he felt, and I don’t have the details, he felt that they said that they were going to re-do his deal and give him a contract and what they said didn’t come to be.
“There was a lot of frustration that whole year. It was a difficult year for him across the board.”
Boldin would play one more year in the desert in 2009, catching 84 passes for 1,024 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinals won their second straight division crown.