After OTAs on Tuesday, Anquan Boldin said he knows the pain of what Michael Crabtree is going through with the news of his torn Achilles tendon. It isn’t a good feeling when a player is out long term from the outsider perspective, but it’s even harder on the player.
“I’ve been through injuries and I know what it is like,” said Boldin. “I fractured my face once. It can be a rough time because it can feel like no one wants you. For me, I hope he’s a guy I can reach out to and we’ll consistently talk. He’ll help [and contribute] for us down the road. I hope he’s strong mentally because it’s tough when you’re out for that long.”
When he was with the Arizona Cardinals, Boldin suffered a fractured face in 2008 when he encountered a helmet-to-helmet collision with safety Eric Smith and was knocked unconscious. Boldin was able to recover from the fractured face three weeks later. He never suffered a torn Achilles but has once torn his ACL.
Despite the injury to Crabtree, Boldin said the motivation for the remaining wide receivers doesn’t change and everyone still needs to be focused on improving. He said a wide receiving core must be able to make plays whether a star receiver is injured or not.
“[The] mindset doesn’t change [even though Crabtree is injured],” said Boldin. “As a receiving core, our job is the same. We have to make plays because the passing game goes through us. It’s definitely on us to get better as a receiving core entirely. When you lose a guy like Crabtree, guys need to step up. There’s no choice as players step up and need to make plays.”
Boldin said he is familiar with several plays being in his 11th year in the league and it’s a matter of translating the different names of what other teams call things. He had a spectacular day in OTAs for the 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh praised him for his work.
“[We’re very] well impressed with Boldin today,” said Harbaugh. “[He] really picked up the system fast and is making plays. [He can make] big catches in tight areas. We’ve been seeing this for a couple of weeks now, [which is] very good.”
During the OTAs, Boldin specialized at beating defenders in man coverage and was a consistent force in seven on seven and 11 vs 11 drills. There were a few 50-50 balls where Boldin had to make the play himself, but was consistent and catching everything thrown his way.
Kyle Williams said Boldin has been a great leader for the younger receivers. The 32-year old WR has helped show everyone else the ins and outs of being a receiver in the NFL.
“He’s a hell of a leader and he leads by example,” said Williams. “You know how he does stuff and whatever he does, it is the right way to do it. From being able to watch him and how he approaches each day, his work ethic is second to none. Having him around helps out the core of receivers.”
Harbaugh likes how motivated Boldin is since being with the 49ers. He has been the one consistent standout on offense throughout the spring practices. Harbuagh also believes his actions can help mentor the youth on the team.
“He’s just very serious about competing and very serious about football and winning,” said Harbaugh. “I think it’ll speak volumes if the young guys observe that.”