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John Harbaugh In Favor Of Anquan Boldin Reunion, If He Wants To Return

Posted Mar 28, 2017

The head coach said the former Ravens receiver can still play at the highest level and could be a good fit with the Ravens in 2017 if certain factors fall into place.

Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear he would like to see wide receiver Anquan Boldin return to Baltimore, but added several factors would need to fall into place for it to happen.

Among those factors are whether Boldin would even want to return and if General Manager Ozzie Newsome could make it work.

But early in his press conference at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Harbaugh, unprompted, said he would be "interested" in a certain receiver on the market, and was later asked specifically whether the team is considering a reunion with the 15-year veteran.

"I've got to be careful in how I answer that because, of course, we are. Of course, I am. I'm thinking about it every day. Just like I'm thinking about [several other open spots on the roster]," Harbaugh replied.

"But that's up to Ozzie. It's up to all of us, but in the final accounting, I think we need to see what all the options are. And I don't even know if Anquan wants to come back. That would be another thing that we have to look into."

If the Ravens are serious about bringing back Boldin, who was one of the key offensive weapons on the Super Bowl XLVII team, they may have to wait until after the draft (if he lasts that long on the open market). Boldin is an unrestricted free agent after playing on a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions last season.

Both Harbaugh and Team President Dick Cass talked this week about preferring not to sign any more unrestricted veterans until after May 9, when such signings no longer count against the compensatory pick formula.

But as far as Boldin's play is concerned, Harbaugh believes the 36-year-old veteran would be a major boost. Boldin showed last year that he's still productive. He led the Lions with eight touchdowns and finished second on the team with 67 catches for 584 yards while playing in the slot as the No. 3 receiver.

"I will say this: I do believe he can still play at the highest level," Harbaugh said. "I think his ability and skills are such that he's not going to drop off the edge just because of how he plays."

The Ravens traded Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers after their 2012 Super Bowl victory for salary-cap purposes. Prior to the trade, Boldin said he wanted to retire a Raven, but his feelings may have changed over the last four years.

"I know he loved it in Baltimore, and I loved him in Baltimore," Harbaugh said. "[I] didn't want him to have to leave when it happened. That's just the way it all worked out. But I'd be for [a return]."

Harbaugh said the Ravens are only looking for one receiver that "fills the right role for us," and that player could be added in a number of ways. In addition to Boldin, they are reviewing options in the draft, along with players cut by their former teams. The Ravens head coach even mentioned a trade as a possibility.

This player would serve in a complementary role to the top two speedsters already on the roster. There's Mike Wallace, who led all Ravens receivers last season with 72 catches, and 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman. After missing his entire rookie year with knee injuries, Perriman returned last year to notch 33 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns.

The Ravens will heavily rely on Perriman next season.

"With Breshad, I think you see talent. This guy is supremely talented," Harbaugh said. "He's fast, fast, fast. He's big, big, big. He can go up and track a ball down the field and go up and make a play, and we need him to be [a big contributor]. He has to be. We took him as the 26th pick in the draft. I also know that he is very motivated and he's working very hard to be the best he can be.

"The bottom line is he has to be. He has to be out there making a difference for us. Period. End of story."

Please Note

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