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Anquan Boldin: ‘Now Or Never’

Posted Jan 27, 2013

The veteran wide receiver is treating this Super Bowl run like it will be his last.

Anquan Boldin is heading back to the Super Bowl for the second time in his career.

But he’s taking a different approach this time.

As a 10-year veteran, Boldin doesn’t know if he’ll ever find himself back in this position to add a Lombardi Trophy to his resume.

“I look at it as being my last time,” Boldin said. “I take that approach to it because you never know when that last time could be. For me, there’s more of a sense of urgency, it’s more get it done now or never.”

Boldin has played with that kind of urgency in the Ravens' three playoffs games.

He’s carried the wide receiving corps and has been a big part of quarterback Joe Flacco’s ascension. Boldin has 16 catches for 276 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs. He had two touchdowns in the AFC championship. That production would equate to 1,525 yards and 16 touchdowns during a 16-game regular season.

“I think we’re just on the same page, especially when Coach [Jim] Caldwell stepped in,” Boldin said about him and Flacco. “I think Joe has a clearer picture of what they’re asking from him. And I think Coach Caldwell has done a great job communicating to everyone exactly what it is that we need to do, how we’re going to attack defenses in different ways.”

One consistent way that the Ravens have attacked defenses under Caldwell is by throwing the ball Boldin’s direction. Flacco has thrown Boldin’s way 26 times in the playoffs, and the next most-targeted receiver is Torrey Smith with 19 targets.

He has shown toughness and strong hands, making highlight-reel touchdown grabs against the Colts and the Patriots. He hauled in a touchdown over a defender with a hand right in his face against Indianapolis, and then made a fingertips snag over two defenders last week in New England.

“Everything is precious,” Boldin said about his mentality in the playoffs. “You don’t waste a minute of it. Every play you play hard because you never know what can be the determining point.”

Boldin is a no-nonsense player who isn’t one stir up drama, but he made the headlines leading up to the AFC championship by saying that this year’s game against the Patriots would be different because they would win. It was similar to remarks he made earlier in the year when he guaranteed the Ravens would win the AFC North and said they wanted to play the Broncos in the playoffs.

The “guarantees” weren’t a big deal to Boldin, who is straight forward when it comes to interviews.

“[A reporter] asked me a question and I answered it,” Boldin said. “I just answered it honestly. I don’t think it was a secret what we were trying to get accomplished. I don’t think it’s a secret about how I felt. I felt like we were going to win. So if you ask me a question, I’m going to tell you.”

Boldin has also made similar statements to his teammates.

He’s challenged Flacco to throw his way, and told the Ravens quarterback before the game against Indianapolis that he was in store for a big day. He then backed up that statement with a 145-yard receiving effort.

Those guarantees and declarations all come back to the fact that Boldin has challenged himself not to waste this opportunity.

“This time around I feel like I have unfinished business,” Boldin said. “It’s good to be back. Most guys don’t even get a chance to go once. I’m going for a second time, so it’s definitely a blessing for me.”

His only other trip to the Super Bowl came in 2009 with the Arizona Cardinals. He came up short that time, as the Cardinals lost, 27-23, to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The biggest memory that he took from that game was the pain of walking off the field as the confetti fell on the opposition. It’s a feeling he doesn’t want to endure again, and he has stressed that to his teammates.

“Whoever loses is forgotten about immediately,” Boldin said. “They’re going to get ushered to the side of the field, escorted to the locker room while the winning team celebrates. You don’t want to go in that locker room as a loser. You’re going to have a sick feeling. You’re not going to want to watch football. You’re not going to want to think about football. The only thing you’re going to want to think about is what I could have done different in that game to change the outcome. You don’t want to be that team. You never know when you’re going to get back.”

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