Football

‘My life’s purpose is bigger than football’: Why Anquan Boldin is leaving the NFL

Anquan Boldin spent 14 seasons in the NFL, including three with the 49ers. Boldin retired from the NFL on Sunday.
Anquan Boldin spent 14 seasons in the NFL, including three with the 49ers. Boldin retired from the NFL on Sunday. Sacramento Bee file

Anquan Boldin, a veteran wide receiver who appeared in regular-season games for four teams, including the 49ers, has retired from the NFL.

“Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work, and at this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority,” Boldin said in a statement to ESPN. “My life’s purpose is bigger than football.”

Boldin, who signed a one-year deal to with the Buffalo Bills earlier this month, finishes his career with 1,076 receptions for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane confirmed Boldin’s retirement to The Associated Press on Sunday. Boldin appeared just once for the Bills, recording one catch for five yards in Thursday’s 20-16 preseason loss to the host Philadelphia Eagles.

The 14-year veteran played three seasons with the 49ers (2013-15), starting 45 of the 46 regular-season games he appeared in. He had 370 catches for 3,030 yards and 16 touchdowns with San Francisco, leading the team in receiving each season. Boldin also played in three playoff games with the 49ers, all in the 2013-14 season, and had 16 grabs for 227 yards and a touchdown.

Boldin began his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003 and holds two NFL rookie records with 101 catches for the season and 217 receiving yards in his first game. He also played with the Ravens, helping Baltimore defeat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013; and spent last season with the Detroit Lions. He was a three-time Pro Bowler, Offensive Rookie of the Year and a 2015 recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

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