Each week, we'll bring you a Q&A with a Ravens player to help you learn a little more about the team. Today's guest is wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught eight passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns in the team's 24-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday and became the fastest player in NFL history to record 600 receptions (98 games). Boldin discussed leaving Arizona for Baltimore, playing in the Ravens offense, and dealing with one of the bigger misconceptions about NFL players.
Question: Did you have any qualms about leaving everything that was familiar with the Arizona Cardinals for everything that was unfamiliar with the Ravens?
Answer: Not at all. I felt like it was time for me to leave. So I had no reservations.
Q: Has coming to Baltimore given you a sense of renewal?
A: I feel like it has. Like I said before, I felt like my time in Arizona was up for whatever reason. But I just felt that coming to Baltimore would be a fresh start.
Q: When the Ravens traded for you, pundits immediately said that you were the final piece of the puzzle for this offense. Does that place a lot of pressure on you?
A: No, not at all because nobody puts more pressure on me than I put on myself. For me, I just feel like if I play the way I've played throughout my entire career, I'll be OK. So no pressure.
Q: How would you describe your transition to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's schemes and playbook?
A: There's a little different verbage, but it's pretty much the same offense that we ran in Arizona.
A: It's fun. There's a lot of weapons on the field at the same time. lt keeps me alert because I know that the ball can go anywhere on any play. A lot of times, when you're with different offenses, you usually key on one guy, which makes it real difficult for the other guys around you. But here, it's real easy.
Q: Do you feel that you are one of the leaders on this offense?
A: I always have, but for me, it's more about trying to be a leader through my work ethic, not so much about what you say. I mean, anybody can go out there and rah-rah, but that's not my style. I try to lead by example.
Q: You were clocked running a 4.61 in the 40 coming out of Florida State. How ironic is it that you've built a reputation based on your ability to pick up yards after the catch?
A: That's always been my game. I think if you go back to my college days and watch me on film, yards after the catch has always been the one thing that I've done well. For me, I've just tried to continue to do that during my time in the league.
Q: What was your welcome-to-the-NFL moment?
A: Honestly, my welcome-to-the-NFL moment had nothing to do with football. It was just people asking me for money the entire year. My rookie year, I had fun. I honestly didn't feel like a rookie. A lot of people say that you hit that rookie wall. You're tired, but in my rookie season, I was so caught up into breaking records and doing this and that on the football field that I probably never felt like a rookie. It was more about people hearing that you're in the NFL and think that you have all this money, which is untrue. Everybody comes out of the woodwork then.
Q: Is that the biggest misconception that people have about football players, that everyone is a millionaire?
A: Yeah, I think so. The crazy part about the NFL is the disparity between pay. You have some guys making $350,000 and then you have some guys making $10 million a year. But the general public doesn't understand that just because I'm in the NFL, that doesn't mean that I'm making millions upon millions. Nothing is guaranteed, and they don't factor in taxes. If you get a $10 million contract, you might get a little bit more than half of that after taxes. I think that's a big misconception among fans.
Q: What did it mean to you that Pahokee High School named its $9 million, 5,000-seat stadium after you last year?
A: For me, that's big. Knowing where I come from and the guys who come from that area, we have Hall of Fame guys from my hometown [Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson and the late Andre Waters, to name a few]. And out of all those guys, they chose to name the stadium after me. That's saying something. That was definitely humbling for me.