It should say something about Anquan Boldin that the Arizona Cardinals held a press conference yesterday specifically to honor what he did for their football team.
There were reported contract disputes between Boldin and the Cardinals front office, which may have played a part in the wide receiver being dealt to Baltimore Friday evening.
But Arizona certainly still held its former player in high regards.
"I'm sad to see Anquan go, just because of the great respect I have for the way he played the game and certainly for the contributions he made for our ballclub since I've been here," said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who just finished his third year in Arizona.
"I'm also pleased Anquan gets something he's excited about, something that he's worked hard to get it. I'm just glad we don't have to face him but once every four years."
What Boldin got is a reported three-year contract extension worth $25 million, which when added to the one year left on his deal with the Cardinals, puts him in Baltimore for four years at $28 million.
It's the type of deal Boldin, a three-time Pro Bowler, had desired for the past two seasons. Whisenhunt was asked if that contract dispute played into Boldin being traded and if the Cardinals were on good terms with the wide receiver.
"It never has affected the way Anquan has worked on the field and played," Whisenhunt said. "I've said all along, we've been a better football team when Anquan has played for us. So, on a lot of levels, it's tough to know Anquan isn't going to be out there for us anymore.
"But I also think it was also time. This was something that was in the best interest of Anquan and in the best interest of us."
Arizona general manager Rod Graves and Whisenhunt said they were both surprised how quickly the trade happened. They confirmed that several teams were interested in Boldin on Friday, but said they went with Baltimore partly because the Ravens had a contract extension for Boldin already in the place.
What's interesting about that is that it shows the Cardinals were not only thinking about what the best deal would be for them, but also trying to do what was best for Boldin – which speaks volumes.
"We kept going back to Baltimore because, as Rod said, they were much further along with dealing with Anqaun and his agent. And that was an important aspect of it," Wisenhunt said.
Graves opened the press conference complimenting Boldin, who posted five seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in seven years in Arizona and helped them reach Super Bowl XLIII.
"Anquan was a tremendous part of the success that we've been able to achieve since we drafted him in 2003. We are very grateful for his contributions to our football team. We've certainly improved in so many aspects with his involvement."
Now the Ravens hope to improve in the same regard.