Anquan Boldin: It's Time to Embrace the New Guys

Anquan Boldin has seen this before.

Well, maybe not quite at this magnitude, but he knows the deal.

Every NFL offseason, right around the first two weeks of March, will see major roster changes taking place for nearly all 32 clubs.

For the 49ers, that means the retirement of Patrick Willis and the departure of the franchise's all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore, who signed a three-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.

Willis was a defensive co-captain throughout his eight-year tenure. Gore didn't wear the "C" per se, but he was largely known as a locker-room leader.

So what will the 49ers do without the franchise stalwarts in 2015?

Lean on the likes of Boldin, who enters his third year in San Francisco and 13th season in the NFL.

"It's definitely a challenge, especially when you lose a guy like Pat, or you lose a guy like Frank, guys who have been staples for the franchise for almost a decade if not more," Boldin said in a phone interview with "You definitely lose a lot when you lose those guys, but I look forward to working with the new guys."

The new guys include two of his former teammates: Darnell Dockett with the Arizona Cardinals and Torrey Smith with the Baltimore Ravens.

Boldin, who led the 49ers last season with 83 catches for 1,062 receiving yards, raved about Smith's potential in San Francisco's offense as an "explosive" talent.

Boldin also said he understood that yearly changes come with the territory of being a professional athlete.

"We're looking at the age of free agency," Boldin said. "You know every year that the team is going to look different, you're just not sure how different it's going to look. This year we have some moving pieces, guys retiring, guys moving on to play with other teams.

"So although you hate to see it, it's something that you have to get over as quick as possible, just embrace the new guys you have and you get to work as soon as possible."

Because the 49ers have first-year head coach Jim Tomsula in place, the club can begin offseason workout programs as early as April 6.

That's a good place for San Francisco's new-look leadership to start taking shape.

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