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OWINGS MILLS, Maryland – Anquan Boldin’s final game with the Baltimore Ravens was memorable.
And so was his departure from the organization for which he helped deliver a Super Bowl title.
The Ravens had to make cuts to their pay roll following the victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. With his advancing age and $6 million salary, Boldin was offered to the 49ers in a trade just a month after Ravens were crowned as the best team in the NFL.
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“That’s the business part of football,” said Boldin, who added he was “shocked” when he was informed of the trade.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh called his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, to gauge his interest in acquiring Boldin in a trade. Jim ran down the hall to inform general manager Trent Baalke. Then, Baalke and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome worked out the details that would send Boldin to the 49ers for just a sixth-round draft pick.
“It was very painful. I still blame Ozzie,” John Harbaugh quipped. “I’m still sore from that deal. But it was something we had to do together. We tried like crazy to keep Anquan. We fought like crazy, but we were fighting against a number. And those numbers are things that sometimes aren’t as pliable as you’d like them to be.
“And that was our issue on that one. We certainly didn’t want to trade Anquan Boldin. He was one, if not, our best player.”
And in his first season with the 49ers, Boldin was voted as their best player. He was chosen as the winner of the Bill Walsh Award after recording 85 receptions for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns.
This trip to the Baltimore area is serving as closure for Boldin, who was performing charity work in Senegal at the time the trade was consummated. Boldin played one series against the Ravens on Thursday in the exhibition opener for both teams. Now, he’s back at the Ravens’ practice facility as the Harbaugh brothers arranged for three joint practices between their teams.
“I got a chance to see a lot of people I haven’t seen since the trade,” Boldin said. “I was in Africa at the time, so I couldn’t come back here (to the Ravens practice facility). It was the first time I’ve seen them in quite some time. It was good to see those people. I built a lot of relationship through the years here.”