Ravens general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome's opening statement:
(NEWSOME) "Like Kevin [Byrne] said, thanks for your patience. Anquan [Boldin] just got back from his physical, we had to get him some food and then he signed this new extension to his contract. I'd like to begin by saying when Anquan came out in the Draft, he was the subject of a lot of discussion in our War Room. And not too many times do you get a chance to recover from a mistake, and I think I made a mistake in that Draft [by] worrying more about measurables than worrying about the football player. And what Anquan is, is a football player. Regardless of how long you've been in this league, I think that you become a fan at some point. And any time I've had an opportunity to watch 'Q' [Anquan Boldin] play – whether on tape or whether during a game – after one of our games on Sundays, I could always enjoy watching him. The way he approached the game and the way he played the game is something I enjoy watching, and now I have the opportunity to watch it, but watch him playing for us here in Baltimore."
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's opening statement:
*(HARBAUGH) *"Well, I guess Ozzie [Newsome] said it best. With Anquan, he's a football player, and I guess I'd take it another step, Ozzie, and say he's our kind of football player. I think 'Q' feels like he fits the Ravens. We talked a little bit about it last night, and we sure feel that way, and that's why he's here. I know we've got an offensive coordinator sitting right back there, Cam Cameron, and his offensive staff couldn't be more excited. And the defensive coaches are excited, and the special teams coaches are excited, and I just want to compliment Ozzie, Eric DeCosta, Vince Newsome and all the scouts on the job they did putting this thing together. Pat Moriarty, of course, did a great job working with Anquan and his agent. This is something that has been in the making for a long time, and this is something that we've been hoping for, for quite a while, as a football staff. And then even last night when we had a chance to go out to dinner and just spend some one-on-one time together, I came away so much more impressed with Anquan Boldin the man, the person. And so much more convinced that he fits us just perfectly. So, we're excited about what's in store, and I know I can't wait to get started on some football."
WR Anquan Boldin's opening statement:
*(BOLDIN) *"I'm definitely excited about the opportunity to play for the Baltimore Ravens. Although it was kind of a bittersweet moment, finding out about the trade, you know Arizona had been the only home that I'd known professionally. I've been there seven years, built a lot of relationships, and I was involved in the community, so it's kind of hard to leave something like that. But I think in order for us to grow as human beings, change is necessary, and this is definitely a welcome change for me. I've been talking over the last year with Ray Lewis, just chomping at the bit to become a Baltimore Raven, and it finally happened, so I'm ecstatic about it."
What was the deal maker for you in the end to choose Baltimore over other teams?
(BOLDIN) "Well for me, like coach said, I think it's a place that fits me. The way that I approach the game, the way that I play the game, the guys that they have here – hard-nosed guys that want to win – they don't worry about the glory or anything like that. Those guys just want to get the job done, and I think I fit in perfect with that."
In Arizona you had a guy like WR Larry Fitzgerald playing with you. What are your thoughts on being the more featured wide receiver here in Baltimore?
*(BOLDIN) *"Well for me, I just feel like I add a piece to this offense. I know one thing that I was really looking at when looking at a team is – and me and coach talked about this last night – I wanted to go somewhere where one, I had an opportunity to win a championship – and I feel like I have that here. Two, a place that plays defense, runs the ball well, and has a great young quarterback. And I think Baltimore fits that to the 'T.'"
How much pride do you take in blocking as a wide receiver?
*(BOLDIN) *"Well for me, it's very important. You know, coach and I were at dinner last night and we were talking about it. I think the main thing is, if I were a running back – or anybody else with the ball in their hands – I want people blocking for me. And I don't want to turn on the film, and a guy could have had a 50-yard or a 70-yard run, and my man made the tackle. So, that's something that I take pride in, and I'll continue to take pride in."
Ozzie, how important is blocking to Anquan's game and adding a dimension in that way?
*(NEWSOME) *"Well, football is a team game. And whether you're throwing it or running it, in order for Joe [Flacco] to be able to throw the football, we've got to have some guys protecting him and we've got to have some guys probably running some complimentary routes to get someone else open. And so, that's also how the running game is, too. You know, when we have to play against teams, especially in this division, then everybody [has] got to participate in the game, because the quarterback normally doesn't block anybody. So, even the back has got to block one guy on his own by being that guy. But, Cam and John, we ask our guys to be a whole football player; not just one part or the other."
A lot of people remember you as bouncing back from the hit by NY Jets S Eric Smith. What did it take for you to come back from that in just a few games, and does that play define your toughness?
*(BOLDIN) *"I think so. Well for me, it wasn't anything special, as far as coming back. I just felt like we had an opportunity to make a run [in the playoffs], and I felt like me being on the field would have helped that. So, for me, I tried to get back on the field as soon as possible. I probably would have missed only one game had they let me, but they kind of held me back. You know, it was an unfortunate incident, things like that happen in football, but you just need to be able to bounce back, and I was blessed to be able to."
What were some of the things you heard about playing in Baltimore and why did you want to come play here?
*(BOLDIN) *"Well, just the passion that the fans have for winning. The owner loves to win, the coaches here are fired up about it, [and] they really get after it. And just seeing the passion that the players have for the game. Like I said, I think I fit in quite well."
Was it a big relief for you to come here and get a new contract extension right off the bat?
*(BOLDIN) *"It definitely means a lot to me. Just talking to these guys on the phone, they sounded as excited as I was. But, it's definitely comforting to come to a place where you know that you're wanted with open arms."
What do you know about QB Joe Flacco, and what is your opinion of him?
(BOLDIN) *"I've only had a chance to meet him once – that was just this past Saturday – but from what I hear he is a great kid, humble kid, [and] works his butt off. But he is a good talent, also. For me, I'm just looking forward to getting in and working with him and hopefully helping him out."* **
Was QB Kurt Warner's retirement part of your decision to try and go somewhere else? Can you talk about your relationship with him, and going from a veteran to now a younger quarterback?
*(BOLDIN) *"Well, I don't think it was just so much of Kurt. I've built strong relationships throughout that locker room – offense and defense – and although Kurt was leaving I still had a strong relationship with Matt [Leinart]. So, it wasn't so much about Kurt leaving. For me, trying to get out, there were other things involved in it. Like I said, it was tough leaving those relationships behind, but I will continue to be friends with all of those guys. We'll continue to stay in touch, but I'm looking forward to being a Raven."
How specifically do you feel that you can make an impact on this offense? What are your goals for this season in terms of what you will bring to the table?
(BOLDIN) *"Well, for me the only thing I can do is approach the game the way that I have always approached it. Come out, work hard and hopefully other guys will see that and follow suit as well. But hopefully I can add a piece outside. The way they run the ball here is unbelievable. They're just the opposite here of what we were in Arizona. These guys, they will see eight-and-nine-man fronts, and we see six, seven, eight guys in the secondary (laughter*). So, hopefully when guys try to stack the box, that's when I will come into play."
Do you feel like the physical style that the AFC North is known for fits right into your hands?
Coming from the NFC West, you have had rivalries with St. Louis, Seattle and San Francisco. Now that you're in the AFC North, can you talk to the fans about what it's going to be like playing against teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers?
(BOLDIN) "I'm seeking a little revenge on Pittsburgh anyways (laughter). They beat us in the Super Bowl, so I'm definitely looking forward to that matchup. The AFC North has always been a tough, hard-nosed conference, and I'm definitely looking forward to getting in there and mixing it up. Like I said, I am excited about the opportunity."
Can you recount the NFC Championship game shouting match with Todd [Haley]? Was that over once the game was over, or was that some type of grudge?
(BOLDIN) (Laughter) "No, it was over once the game was over. I don't know if people know it or not, but that happens all the time in the NFL. It just so happens that it got caught on film and people took it and ran with it. But me and Todd [Haley], we still have a good relationship. I respect him [and] he respects the way I play the game. That will never change."
Ozzie, you have been targeting Anquan [Boldin] for a while now. Was there ever a point previously where you were close to a deal and it just didn't come together?
*(NEWSOME) *"We had some dialogue with Arizona, but nothing as extensive as it got to be on Friday starting at about noon our time. We actually started to discuss different ways of making a trade. The other time was just a courtesy call, and every time I would make that call, 'We love Anquan, we want to keep Anquan, he is a big part of what we are getting done,' and I respected that. But this time the call was made there was a different answer to me, which started the dialogue."
When you get a guy like Anquan, who changes the dynamic of your offense, do you start to install new and different things to gear it toward a playmaker like him?
(HARBAUGH) "I think maybe it will start. Go back to his high school days when he played quarterback, All-State or whatever it was. Cam's got some drawings up on the board right now with that in mind. You all know how Coach Cameron is. We'll have plenty of ways to move him around, get him open. I think Anquan said it best; it's like any player, they become a piece to what you're doing offensively. Players complement one another. He'll play great [and] he'll make the guys around him play better. That's what really good players do; they make everybody around them better [and] help everybody else to shine. That's not just his personality, that's his talents. He's the kind of guy that's going to demand attention. He'll make the tough catch [and] he'll run after the catch as well as anybody in the League. He's a guy that I think you can count on in tough, physical games against the people we play, that you were talking about, in this division and in the AFC East and everybody else we play. He's going to demand some attention, and I think it's going to help everyone around him."
Ozzie, we've never heard you say that you've made a mistake before.
(NEWSOME) "I make mistakes all the time (laughing). I just try not to make the same one twice."
Can you talk about what went on in the War Room when you passed on Boldin in the Draft and who was responsible for that?
(NEWSOME) "I never talk about 'who,' but we have some standards that are set in our room on measurables, and one of the first players that I ever went against that [with] was Ray [Lewis]. Ray did not fit our measurables, but I saw the football player. I think in this situation I got blinded a little bit, and didn't appreciate the football player as much as I should have. It took me seven years, but I finally got it right."
Does making a deal like this get complex when you're dealing Draft picks to try to put value on a player, and then knowing that you have to sign the player in addition?
(NEWSOME) "Yeah, it gets a little complicated. Not only are you talking about Draft pick compensation, but you're also talking about [monetary] compensation. What we have to do, and Pat [Moriarty] does a very good job of it, we have to establish what we think Anquan's value is, both economically and player-wise. As far as picks are concerned, and regardless of what we think, Arizona has some thoughts also, so that's where the negotiation comes about. But Pat and Tom Condon, his agent, were able to work a deal. There were some Final Eight restrictions that we had to deal with, with his deal, because he had an existing deal. Then Rod Graves and I – who Rod is, I think, one of the true giants in this game – were able to sit there over maybe four or five different phone calls to come up with something I think was fair for Arizona and fair for Steve Bisciotti."
Does this eliminate WR Derrick Mason from the picture? Will you still try to re-sign him? What's your game plan on that?
(NEWSOME) "I will always say we'll always look to add good football players to our team. I don't ever close a door on anyone, especially someone with the talent of Derrick Mason."
Anquan, fans in Baltimore have been asking for a receiver like you for quite some time now. Are you aware of that, and what are your feelings on those expectations?
(BOLDIN) "I've been hearing that, that Baltimore's been waiting on a No. 1 receiver or a playmaker outside. I mean as far as expectations, I don't think anybody sets their expectations as high as I do. I'm looking forward to it."
Ozzie, the Ravens are getting low on picks in this year's Draft. Does that concern you?
(NEWSOME) "You know what, I just take it… Today we got 'Q' done, tomorrow, who knows what could happen. I just take it one day at a time."
Your influence on other receivers – is that something you're vocal about? Is it intentional focus or a byproduct of the way you go about your business?
(BOLDIN) "I think it's a combination of all of it. I think there are times when you have to be vocal, but I think the only way guys are really going to follow you is if you're showing it. You've got to come out, you've got to work hard, you've got to be that guy all the time. I don't think you can just talk your way into being a leader. I think it's a combination of it all."
Is there a sense of a relief for you, that now that you've brought Boldin in, you don't have to hear that question about a receiver anymore for a while?
(NEWSOME) "No. My sense of relief will be when we're standing here with the Pete Rozelle Trophy… Is that the name of that trophy? (laughter) Oh, the Lombardi Trophy. That's the only time I'll get a little relief, if we sit here with that trophy again. But then probably the next day I'll be back out there again. I don't ever have any relief."