Anquan Boldin was in Africa doing charity work last offseason when he found out he had been traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
It was so shocking that those around him were uneasy in breaking the news. They didn't know how he'd react, Boldin said.
Now Boldin is back in Baltimore for the first time since, but this time as a member of the 49ers. And he's using it as a chance for not only business, but also some closure.
"I got a chance to see a lot of people I haven't seen since the trade," Boldin said. "It's always good to see those people. I built a lot of relationships in my three years here."
Boldin was a Raven from 2010 to 2012. He was instrumental in helping Baltimore beat San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII. In the four postseason games, Boldin caught 22 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He hauled in six passes for 104 yards and the first score of Super Bowl XLVII.
The Ravens wanted to keep Boldin, but reportedly wanted him to take less money. Baltimore was tight against the salary cap.
After not being able to work out a deal, the Ravens dealt Boldin to the 49ers for a sixth-round pick. The Ravens struggled to replace Boldin's production last year, especially after tight end Dennis Pitta went down for 12 games with a hip injury.
"It was very painful. I still blame Ozzie, I'm still sore from that deal," Harbaugh said.
"It was something we had to do together and we all understood. We tried like crazy with that. People don't realize that we fought like crazy, but we were fighting against a number. Those numbers are sometimes not as pliable as you would like them to be."
Boldin was asked whether hearing that from Harbaugh is comforting.
"For me, it is and it isn't," he said. "It's done and over with now."
Every player that was a part of the Ravens' championship team – including Boldin – was invited to the White House and ring ceremony. Boldin didn't attend either. The Ravens shipped Boldin his Super Bowl ring.
Still, Boldin has kept in touch with some Ravens, particularly wide receiver Torrey Smith. Boldin came to town for Smith's charity basketball tournament at the University of Maryland in March. The two also met for dinner in Florida during the offseason.
"That [relationship] goes beyond football," Boldin said. "I still have that connection with him even when it's all said and done."
Boldin said goodbye to Ravens fans at M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night at the preseason opener. He interacted with fans wearing his No. 81 jersey in both purple and red. Boldin downplayed being in the visitors' locker room after the game, but lit up when asked about the fans.
"I just want to say thank you for the time I spent here and the support they've given me," he said. "And even after I left, it's been nothing but love. So thank you."
Boldin also met with some neighbors in his old community for a barbeque, but will now turn his attention to the field. Ever serious about his job, Boldin also stressed that it's a business trip.
Harbaugh said he's looking forward to practicing against Boldin because he'll help the Ravens defensive backs. With the NFL increasing the focus on contact between wide receivers and cornerbacks down the field, Baltimore's cornerbacks will have to try to find a way to provide tight coverage legal contact.
"Anquan is one of the great artists of getting open in tight spaces," Harbaugh said. "We've got to learn how to play that. I think it's going to be great for us."
And everybody knows Boldin will practice hard.
"[He's] the most special practice player I've ever seen," 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I've never seen any better."