Anquan Boldin Shares Perspective on Life Outside Football

Stop. Before you go any further, it's important that you read 49ers.com's recent profile of Anquan Boldin, or at least bookmark it for viewing at your next moment of leisure. 

From his contributions through his Q81 Foundation to his unmatched work ethic on the football field, there are a myriad of reasons why Boldin is one of the most revered players in the NFL.

This week, the receiver sat down with 49ers Studios for a 1-on-1 interview to discuss his community service and life outside of football. 

Now more than a decade into running his own foundation, Boldin has turned his attention to helping his peers in the NFL get behind a cause they're passionate about.

"I get lot of questions, especially from the young guys, about how to start and what channels to go through," Boldin said. "A lot of guys want to help but don't know how to get it started or don't know where to turn."

Boldin has gone on service trips overseas and has provided more than $1 million in scholarships to help American students achieve their dreams of getting a college education. "I come from a situation where I didn't have much. So anytime you're able to help somebody and help them improve their lives, it resonates with me. That's the reason why I do it. That's the reason why I started the foundation. To see people take advantage of the opportunities, that's thanks enough for me."

Boldin was the recipient of the Byron "Whizzer" White award in 2014, given annually by the NFL Players Association to a player who best served his team, community and country.

Just last season, the receiver was a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the NFL's most prestigious community-related honor. Boldin said if he were to win the award at some point during his career, it would rank among the top of his individual career achievements.

"I think so," Boldin said. "Football is great. I love playing football. It's been a part of my life since I can remember. But when your life's work is done, I don't want people to talk about what I did on the football field. It's good for the here and now, winning games and winning championships and breaking records or whatever. But that stuff fades away.

"People come in and replace you and that part is forgotten about. What you do for people will always last, even when you're dead and gone. That's the thing I want to be remembered for most."

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who won the award over Boldin last season, said he is in "awe" of what Boldin has accomplished through his decade-plus of community service.

Boldin said he wants to turn that admiration from his peers into a call to action for the rest of the NFL.

"For me, (it's about) being able to inspire others to help out as well," he said. "Being in the NFL is the biggest platform that you can have when it comes to having a foundation. I tip my hat to the guys that really do go out and get involved in the communities.

"I think we can do a lot more as a league. Not only players, but coaches, GMs, owners, you name it."

With all the talk of Boldin's work in the community, people may forget that his career is nearing a Hall-of-Fame level.

The receiver is in his 13th season, owns seven 1,000-yard campaigns, has scored 72 touchdowns, been named to three Pro Bowls and wears one Super Bowl ring.

Looking back to 2003 when the Arizona Cardinals took him in the second round, Boldin never fathomed that his career would amount to this much success.

"Getting drafted, I just wanted an opportunity," Boldin said. "I just wanted to come in and show everybody that I belonged in this league. The ride has been fun. It's definitely gone by too fast – 13 years. It doesn't seem like it's been that long. I've been having fun doing it, and as long as I can play at a high level, I'll continue to do so."

The next milestone on the horizon for Boldin is 1,000 career receptions. Currently at 963 catches and 13th all-time in NFL history, the receiver is on pace to hit quadruple digits this season. In doing so, Boldin would pass Randy Moss (982) and Hines Ward (1,000).

The receiver already has more career receptions than numerous Hall of Famers such as Andre Reed, Art Monk and Steve Largent to name just a few.

That's all news to Boldin, however, who is not nearly ready to stop and smell the roses.

"To be honest with you, no. I really don't look at my stats, although I have an 11-year-old son who repeatedly tells me how close I am to different things," Boldin joked. "I don't want to take that time right now to reflect on my career. I'll have plenty of time when it's said and done. Right now I'm focused on trying to be the best player I can be."

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