Posted By: Christian Marin
Ever since he made his NFL debut with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, Anquan Boldin has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the game today. Now in his ninth NFL season; second with the Baltimore Ravens, Boldin has been able to record a minimum of 800 receiving yards per year when he starts at least 10 games during the regular season. Drafted in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the 54th overall pick for the Cardinals was not always known for his ability as a wide receiver as it wasn’t until college that he found his true calling. In high school, Boldin was Pahokee High School’s quarterback and was recognized for his talent as he was named Florida’s Mr. Football in 1998 and led his team to a 10-0 regular season record during his senior year. Despite losing in the 2A Championship later that season, Boldin was a USA Today first-team selection and was named the Florida Player of the Year.
While attending Florida State, Boldin converted over to wide receiver in order to get more playing time with the team; only having spot duty as quarterback. The 23 games that he played as a wide receiver would help him make a new name for himself in the football world as he finished with 118 receptions; 1,790 receiving yards (averaging 15.2 yards per reception); and scored 21 touchdowns. Heading into the draft, Boldin’s time in the 40-yard dash made a lot of the scouts nervous and uncertain that he would be able to make it as an NFL wide receiver. With every team passing on him in the first round, Boldin was picked up by the Cardinals with the 22nd pick in the second round and 54th overall.
In his first season he was a starter for the Cardinals and managed to prove every scout wrong that passed on him in the previous draft. In his first game, he was already setting records as he recorded 217 receiving yards; the most by any player in their first ever NFL game, and tied Billy Sims for the most yards from scrimmage in their first game with 217 yards. Although it was his rookie season, Boldin didn’t waste any time adapting to the NFL. That season he finished with 101 receptions; 1,377 receiving yards (averaging 13.6 yards per reception); and scored 8 touchdowns. Aside from his impressive first-year stats, he was also the only rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl that season and took home the Pro Football Writers Association Offensive Rookie of the Year and the Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year awards.
Boldin would only start nine games in his sophomore season due to a knee injury. Despite missing nearly half the season, he still managed to finish second on the team in receptions and receiving yards; finishing with 56 receptions and 623 receiving yards. Although he finished second on the team in those categories, he only managed to score one touchdown while his yards per reception took a hit, dropping to 11.1 yards per reception. The following season, an injury would keep Boldin out of two games but it didn’t affect him as much. He started in 14 games that season, finishing with 102 receptions; 1,402 receiving yards (13.7 yards per reception); scored 7 touchdowns; and averaged 100 yards a game. That same season, the Cardinals’ sophomore wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald joined Boldin in surpassing the 100 receptions mark, as well as the 1,400 receiving yards mark, as the duo became just the third pair of receivers in NFL history to catch over 100 receptions each in addition to topping the 1,400 yard mark.
Although he didn’t manage to reach the 100 receptions mark the following season, Boldin once again totaled over 1,000 receiving yards as he finished with 1,203 receiving yards (a career high 14.5 yards for reception) and scored four touchdowns on 83 receptions. That season he became the fastest player to record 300 career receptions and earned himself another appearance in the Pro Bowl. He was named the offensive captain for the Cardinals during the 2007 season and became the fastest player to 400 receptions; only one year after he became the fastest player to reach 300 receptions.
The 2008 season would be another memorable season for Boldin and the Cardinals. Like the previous year, he was forced to miss a handful of games during the season but he stepped up and conquered the challenge as he finished with 89 receptions for 1,038 yards and scored a career-high 11 touchdowns in just 12 games that year. For the third consecutive season he made his way into the record books, this time becoming the fastest player to record 500 receptions in his career. He found his way back to the Pro Bowl for the third time and got a chance to play on the biggest stage as the Cardinals appeared in Super Bowl XLIII; a game in which they fell just shy of the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 27-23. That same season, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston became just the fifth 1,000-yard receiving trio in the history of the NFL.
Boldin would play one more year with the Cardinals following the Super Bowl loss. He recorded 1,000+ receiving yards for the fifth time in seven years since entering the league, but only managed to score four touchdowns that season. The team found their way back into the playoffs but had their run cut short in the second round by the New Orleans Saints who went on to win it all that year.
The following season, Boldin was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for their 2nd, 3rd and 4th round draft picks to give Joe Flacco another target to go to. That season, the Ravens finished 12-4 but ended up losing to their division rivals; the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the second round. Boldin set another record, one he was all too familiar with, this time becoming the fastest player to 600 receptions for his career.He has always been known for his community work and giving back to those who are less fortunate in both Florida and Arizona. Now that he is playing in Baltimore, there is no doubt that he will be bringing his humanitarian and philanthropic efforts with him to the Ravens and the city of Baltimore.
In his sophomore season, Boldin began the Anquan Boldin “Q81” Foundation with a mission to bring hope to underprivileged children. He has many programs associated with the Foundation such as; the Palm Beach All-Stars Football Camp; the Q81 Summer Enrichment Program; Free Life Insurance; Home Energy Program; Dental Program; and many seasonal services such as holiday shopping sprees, donating football equipment and back to school items and YFL trips to NFL games.
The annual Palm Beach All-Stars Football Camp is one of the newest programs in the Foundation. Introduced this year, the Camp is a non-contact youth football skills camp for kids between the ages of 10 and 18. They receive instruction from Palm Beach County coaches along with local NFL players. It is supposed to help encourage kids to participate and enjoy the game of football, while learning to be a positive role model for others by being a leader and having an admirable work ethic.
Another new program is the Q81 Summer Enrichment Program. Through partnership with Florida Crystals Corporation, the Q81 Foundation supports students in Pahokee, Florida with an eight-week program designed for students at Everglades Preparatory Academy grades 9-12 who need courses to catch up academically. The participating teens get the opportunity for a credit-recovery program while enjoying other activities such as guest speakers, classroom discussions and field trips.
With the Free Life Insurance, Home Energy Program and Dental Program, the Foundation expands to so many more people since they have the ability to help out an entire family, rather than just the children. The Foundation and Bible Church of God help deliver Free Life Insurance to low-income families to pay for their children’s education if their mother or father passes away. Through this, thousands of people are offered a free 10-year term life insurance policy with a face value of nearly $50,000. With the Home Energy Program, the Foundation has teamed up with the SRP Electric Services to provide families in the Phoenix area with home energy checkups. Assessments help teach them ways to reduce energy in their homes, as well as inspect windows and doors for possible air leaks and missing or broken weather stripping. The families are also given an energy efficiency basket that is valued over $100. The Dental Program is in partnership with Oral and Facial Surgery Center of Phoenix and Woolaver Orthodontics. Established in 2009 to help underprivileged youth address urgent dental care needs, specifically children who are being profoundly impacted by chronic dental conditions such as jaw deformities, overbites, underbites, impacted and symptomatic wisdom teeth. Boldin got the idea for the Dental Program after suffering an injury that required immediate surgical care to his face and mouth in 2008.
The Foundation hosts many seasonal services as well. During the holidays they give out holiday dinners, as well as holiday shopping sprees to the families that can’t afford to celebrate the traditional holiday festivities. They also provide underprivileged children with back to school items and technology equipment to help with their education and provide the children with football equipment to help get them involved in the game and the community. Another thing that the Foundation is known for is taking teams from the Youth Football League and bringing them on field trips to NFL games throughout the season.
Anquan Boldin has been awarded the Distinguished Service and Key to the City awards for his generosity and positive leadership throughout the Pahokee Community. He has never forgotten about where he came from and he shows it as he still contributes to his native community just as much as he does to his seasonal community. He currently has 23 receptions this season for 354 receiving yards (15.4 yards per reception) and one touchdown. For his career to date he has 673 receptions for 8,711 yards (12.9 yards per reception) and has scored 52 touchdowns. He is in his ninth season in the NFL at the age of 31 and if he can stay healthy and continue to play for many more years, there is no doubt he will get his name somewhere else in the record books. Anquan has always been about giving back to the children and helping them get through the tough times in life. He has tried to open doors for many children already and he will continue to do so for as long as he can. He has always been known for his big plays on the field and the even bigger ones off of it that come from the bottom of his heart.
To learn more about the Anquan Boldin “Q81” Foundation, visit http://www.q81.org/