The 49ers officially began "football school" this week, the next phase in the offseason program focusing on non-contact drills and football fundamentals.
Just like any first day of school, it signals a fresh start. For San Francisco, the teachers are all the same, the classroom is the same, but the new kid wearing No. 81 stands out.
"It's a new environment, new system, new players, new coaches," wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "I thought it was important for me to come out and try to get as familiar as possible before the season starts."
It may also take some time for the 49ers veterans to get used to their new receiver, a former adversary on the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens during his ten NFL seasons.
"I remember going against him and (Larry Fitzgerald)," cornerback Carlos Rogers recalled. "When he was in Baltimore, he was a guy you had to compete and play against each and every down, in the run game and the pass game. He's going block you when it's the run. When it's the pass he's going to come off and catch the ball and he can run great routes."
Wide receiver Kyle Williams has long-admired the three-time Pro Bowler. With over 10,000 career receiving yards at 58 touchdowns, there's plenty to like about Boldin's game.
"The toughness he brings to the game, the intensity he brings to the game - it's all put in there with the finesse that he also brings," Williams noted. "He has a great balance of putting it all together and making plays."
Rogers and Williams aren't the only ones who are impressed. Boldin has liked what he's seen in the first two football school workouts.
"I think we're a good team, but like a said, we're still building," Boldin said. "I do see a hungry team, a team that wants to avenge what happened last year. For me, I'm glad to be a part of that because my whole thing is winning championships."
Boldin is looking forward to this early stage in the offseason, trying to pick up as much as he can before the start of the season. Though he may be the veteran of the wide receiver group, he's been learning from his younger teammates as well as the coaching staff.
"I just come in like a rookie, take as many notes as possible, try to be as attentive as possible," Boldin said. "Even if you've heard it a thousand times, you still write it down, you still go through it as if you're learning it for the first time. I think that's the only way you get better."