Boldin, in his first season in San Francisco, laughed upon hearing the compliment from his coach second-hand, but he admitted that toughness is one of the strengths of his game.
"I guess I'll let everybody else who's watching, I'll let those guys decide that," Boldin told 49ers.com. "I just play football. There's only one way that I know how to play football and that's all out."
Growing up in a tough neighborhood in Pahokee, Florida, Boldin learned how to not only act tough, but be tough at a very early age.
Boldin, a high school quarterback, chose to play wide receiver over running back at Florida State University but said he always envisioned himself playing defense with a desire to deliver punishing hits.
"I always felt like I was going to be on the defensive side of the ball," Boldin said. "Along with playing quarterback in high school, I also played free safety. I always liked to get the big hit, lay guys out going across the middle."
In fact, Boldin feeds of the energy of his defensive teammates to this day.
"When you see Donte running around hitting people, Pat, Bo, Justin or Aldon, I feed off those guys as well," Boldin said. "Whenever those guys get a big hit, I want to match it. I'm out there looking to lay somebody out as well."
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This defensive mentality has benefited Boldin during his 12 NFL seasons, as he has never backed down from defensive backs while also knowing where to draw the line.
"At the end of the day, you don't want to do anything that hurts your team," Boldin said. "You don't want to be on that side of it. You always play tough, you play smart and you play right up to the edge, but just enough to where you don't get your team penalized."
If the 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, Boldin will go to the Super Bowl with a third NFL team. He previously made trips with the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 and the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.
Boldin said he attributes these successes to the collective determination of those football teams, each with the never-back-down attitude he embodies individually.
"You have to have that will and that determination," Boldin said. "I know that going into that game that I'm not leaving here without a victory. There's going to come a point in time in that game that one of those teams is going to crack. At some point, at some time, one team is going to crack and it won't be me."