Joe Flacco Sees Anquan Boldin in Dez Bryant; Eric Weddle Is Recruiting


Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco knew he had something special with Anquan Boldin, and he thinks a similar connection could be found once again, this time with Dez Bryant.

Flacco made it clear Tuesday that he would certainly welcome adding the free-agent veteran wide receiver, who is being linked to Baltimore after being released by the Dallas Cowboys several days ago.

"It's pretty easy to talk about [Bryant]," Flacco said. "Another really physical, strong, football-type guy that, as a quarterback, it would be nice to have. I got used to throwing to a guy like that when Anquan was here."

The Flacco-Boldin connection was critical in the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII run, which featured Flacco's best football of his career. That postseason, they connected 22 times for 380 yards and four touchdowns.

It was as if everything that Flacco threw up, Boldin came down with, including big-time clutch grabs when the veteran wide receiver had defenders draped all over him.

Overall, Boldin had three very solid seasons with Flacco in Baltimore, averaging 882 yards per season and scoring 14 touchdowns.

"He was a guy that, even when he didn't have separation … you got used to throwing him the ball and having trust that he was going to get it," Flacco said.

Bryant, 29, has a similar style of play and size to Boldin. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Bryant often wins with his physicality and pure attitude.

"At the end of the day, in order to win big games, you have to have guys that can do that because eventually you're not going to have guys running wide open," Flacco said. "You're going to have to have guys that can deal with traffic. [Bryant is] one of those guys."

Flacco wasn't asked whether he's personally contacted Bryant, but the Ravens' recruiter, safety Eric Weddle, is on the case. Weddle confirmed that he has reached out to the nine-year veteran.

"Dez is an amazing player, passionate, competitive, everything you want in a teammate," Weddle said. "For a guy like that who just came off a tough situation, you just want what's best for him and what he's comfortable with. If we have a shot at him, we'll see what happens."

Weddle knows what it feels like to be cast aside by your former team. The Chargers let him go after nine seasons, and Weddle was wooed to Baltimore in 2016.

The Ravens have a long track record of bringing in such players, particularly at wide receiver. Another prime example is Steve Smith Sr., who was released by the Carolina Panthers and promised "blood and guts" in a rematch the following year after signing with Baltimore.

"Guys on the outside, they want to feel appreciated, they want to feel like they belong. For an older guy, you still have a lot left," Weddle said.

"You hit your age at 30 and people automatically think you can't play anymore. This place appreciates leadership, appreciates what you've done in this league and the competitive fire that makes you a great player doesn't disappear when you hit 30."

Weddle said he'll give the pros and cons of Baltimore to Bryant. The pros included the city, fans, Owner Steve Bisciotti, Head Coach John Harbaugh and more. He said the Ravens are a "unique family organization from top down."

The con? The winters kind of stink, Weddle joked.

"Not many cons here, but I am honest, as you guys know, and I'll shoot him straight," Weddle said.

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