Boldin: Cardinals teammates literally learned not to bet against him, Fitz

May 4, 2020, 8:41 AM | Updated: 6:44 pm
Arizona Cardinals wide receivers Anquan Boldin, left, and Larry Fitzgerald, right, chat while stret...
Arizona Cardinals wide receivers Anquan Boldin, left, and Larry Fitzgerald, right, chat while stretching out during football practice Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009, at the team's practice facility in Tempe, Ariz. The Cardinals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa on Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
(AP Photo/Paul Connors)

In Anquan Boldin’s first game in the NFL, it became clear he might have the right juice to carve out a pretty solid pro career.

The Arizona Cardinals rookie only caught 10 balls for 217 yards and two touchdowns, after all.

Boldin piled up 1,377 receiving yards during his rookie year in 2003 before Arizona paired him with fellow receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was selected in the very next draft. Each of them surpassed the 1,000-yard mark four times while they were teammates.

Both were easily talented enough to be the No. 1 receiver. Neither of them worried about that.

“We always pushed one another in practice as well as in the game,” Boldin said while visiting Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf during Legends Week. “I think the great thing about it was neither one of us had the ego where I got to be the guy …

“For me, it was just, I just want to win. That’s all I wanted to do. It didn’t matter if I had to go blow up a defensive end or go across the middle … If me having to make this block sprung E.J. (Edgerrin James) or Fitz or someone else in the end zone, I was cool with that.”

Their success as a duo, however, caused some problems in the locker room. Well, relatively they were small problems.

In a quite literal sense, teammates learned to steer clear of betting against them, Boldin said.

“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but at that time time, we used to have deals in our locker room where, say offensively, we would say, ‘OK, if a running back has over 100 yards, who’s going to put up money for that?” Boldin said. “Somebody else would be like, ‘If a receiver gets 100-plus, who has money on that?’

“It got to the point where nobody would put money on the receiver stats because every game it was gonna be either me or Fitz that got 100 yards. They ended up bumping ours up to like, I don’t know, like 120, 130 or even 150 at one point, just to challenge us … We felt like at that point, with how we were playing with Kurt, and then we got (receiver Steve) Breaston in … you couldn’t guard us. At some point, one of us is going to have a big game.”

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