Anquan Boldin proud of playing part in Cardinals’ turnaround as franchise

Sep 23, 2021, 7:27 PM

Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals...

Anquan Boldin #81 of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the sideline prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 14, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Before the Arizona Cardinals had selected wide receiver Anquan Boldin out of Florida State with the 53rd pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, the franchise had achieved a winning record in just one of its 15 seasons since moving to Phoenix ahead of the 1988 campaign.

Even with two of its all-timers in Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver, it took a while for the club to ascend out of that, but after an 8-8 record in 2007, the Cardinals won the NFC West two straight years and even made it to the Super Bowl at the end of the decade.

When Boldin runs through his list of accomplishments, including winning a championship with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, that’s some of what sticks out to him the most.

“People always ask me what are some of the high moments of my NFL career,” he told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Thursday. “Obviously things like winning a Super Bowl is right at the top. That’s the reason why you play the game of football. For me, just helping take a franchise who, honestly when I first came into the NFL we were pretty much the laughing stock of the NFL. I can remember at one of my press conferences after I first got drafted, people were asking me what were my expectations for the year. I was so naive as a rookie and I am coming in from Florida State, a place where we had a lot of success, I actually played in two national championships.

“My thing was come in, have a good season and make it to the playoffs. When I said the word playoffs they kinda shushed me, like, ‘We don’t say that word around here like that.’ Taking the Arizona Cardinals from where we were in 2003 until the place where we ended up in 2008 and 2009 where we won back-to-back division championships and then representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, that was definitely a high point in my career.”

Boldin had a complicated tenure in Arizona, and while the wideout said he doesn’t hear much from the Cardinals these days, he’s put some tenuous times in the past.

“I actually had an opportunity two years ago, I was at an NFL owners meeting down here in Fort Lauderdale because of the work I was doing with the player’s coalition,” he said. “While I was waiting in the waiting room, I had the opportunity to run into (former Cardinals general manager) Rod Graves who has now moved on and is in a different position in the NFL now. We had the opportunity to talk and he apologized for some things that happened while I was there.

“For me, all of the bad blood, all the things that happened, that’s water under the bridge for me.”

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