NFL

Anquan Boldin Turned Catching Touchdowns Into a Pursuit of Freedom

Longtime Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin spent nearly 15 seasons catching touchdowns from some of the most-high profile quarterbacks of his era.

Boldin can list Kurt Warner, Joe Flacco, and Colin Kaepernick as quarterbacks who hooked up with him for scores over the years. But nearly five years since his final NFL game, Boldin — much like Kaepernick, his former quarterback on the 49ers — has gone from celebrating touchdowns to fighting for equality.

Anquan Boldin had an excellent NFL career

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Anquan Boldin is going to have a fascinating case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the next few years.

A second-round pick in 2003, Boldin totaled 1,076 receptions for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns in 14 seasons for four teams. Boldin made three Pro Bowls and won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after opening his career with 101 catches and 1,377 yards in 2003.

In 15 playoff games, Boldin hauled in 70 catches for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns. He won a Super Bowl ring on a Ravens offense that featured Joe Flacco and Ray Rice in February 2013.

Boldin also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award following the 2015 season.

Very few would have listed Boldin among the NFL’s top-five receivers in his prime, but he was a consistent talent wherever he went. The numbers and longevity, coupled with his Super Bowl ring and how many receivers from his era are already in the Hall of Fame, could help him eventually earn a bronze bust.

Boldin’s cousin, Corey Jones, died in an incident involving police

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Near the end of his NFL career, Anquan Boldin and his family suffered a horrific tragedy.

Boldin is from Pahokee, Fla. In October 2015, his cousin, Corey Jones, was fatally shot in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., just under an hour east of Pahokee.

According to The Palm Beach Post (Fla.), a plainclothes officer approached Jones, 31, who was near his SUV. Jones’ SUV had broken down after Jones, a musician, played a gig in Jupiter, Fla.

The Post reported that the officer, Nouman Raja, shot six times at Jones, which Raja said was in self-defense. A judge convicted Raja of attempted murder in the first-degree and manslaughter, which carried a 25-year prison sentence.

Raja, who was sentenced to prison in April 2019, is currently appealing the conviction. Prior to Raja, a Florida officer hadn’t been convicted in an on-duty shooting in 30 years.

Anquan Boldin later co-founded the Players Coalition

RELATED: What Is the Players Coalition?

Anquan Boldin has spent recent years trying to ensure that other families don’t have to endure what his went through when Corey Jones died.

In 2017, Boldin and veteran NFL defensive back Malcolm Jenkins co-founded the Players Coalition, a group of players across four sports — the NFL, NBA, MLB, and WNBA — who gathered together to work on police reform and quality. 

In a 2020 appearance on the Huddle & Flow podcast, Boldin explained why the Players Coalition is so important to him.

“When you talk about marching and protesting and you talk about civil rights and you talk about the ’60s, you look at how much we thought we had accomplished from that point and then here we are in 2020 and we realize we didn’t even make a dent. … I want to make sure that we do as much as we can right now, that we make as big a dent in the things that’s going on in this country as possible, so that my kids, my grandkids, my great-grandkids, they don’t have to fight the same fight we’re fighting now. That is my goal.”

NFL Media reported that more than 1,400 figures across the NFL, NBA, and MLB supported the Amash-Pressley bill, which would end qualified immunity for police officers and other government officials, last June. The bill had not passed as of publication.

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