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Steve Smith Sr., Anquan Boldin Share 'Brotherhood Of Toughness'


Head Coach John Harbaugh doesn't typically like to draw comparisons between two players. Each player is different in their own way, and lumping them together could make somebody feel slighted. 

But in the case of Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr. and 49ers receiver Anquan Bodlin, there's definitely one undeniable similarity.

"You have to say that there is a similarity between Anquan and Steve as far as their competitive fire," Harbaugh said with a grin.

"They both bring it every single play, compete, [both are] physical players. There's a brotherhood of toughness between those two guys, that's for sure."

Harbaugh is familiar with both players, as he coached Boldin for three years (2010-2012) and has now had Smith for the past two seasons.

Both players joined the Ravens as veterans who quickly assumed the top spot in the receivers room, both from a production and leadership perspective.

They each definitely play with fire, but they showed it differently.

Boldin has a more quiet intensity, although he wasn't afraid to let an opponent occasionally know his thoughts. Remember when he pointed to the scoreboard when a Raiders defensive back tried to talk smack during a 55-20 loss? Smith, meanwhile, is full of poster-worthy quotes and punctuates most of his big plays with a ball spin.

They have different styles of play as well.

Boldin was a big-bodied receiver at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds with arms that may have been bigger than opposing linebackers'. He used his veteran savvy and route-running to get open, even if it wasn't by much, and his physicality to make contested catches.

Smith, who stands in at 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, has more quickness than Boldin (even though he's a year older). Smith may be harder to bring down because of his mixture of speed and physicality.

At the end of the day, they both get the job done, and did so in Baltimore.

During Boldin's three years with the Ravens, culminating in a Super Bowl XLVII run that he was instrumental in, he averaged 62 catches for 882 catches and more than four touchdowns per season.

Smith put up 79 catches for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns in his first year in Baltimore. Before sitting out last week with a back injury, he was on pace for 116 catches for 1,492 yards and eight touchdowns this season (although it would have been tough to keep up his early pace).

Boldin and Smith could share the same field Sunday in San Francisco. Boldin is having a bit of a down year after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers. Smith is hoping to return to the field after a one-game absence due to microfractures in his back. If they both suit up, it should make for competitive fireworks.

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