COLLEGE PARK — When the Ravens signed veteran wide receiver Steve Smith to a three-year, $11 million contract earlier this month, Smith quickly dismissed any comparisons to former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
It's a shared opinion by Boldin, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers last year after a contract dispute.
"We're two different players," Boldin said Saturday, during Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith's charity basketball game at Comcast Center. "I think he'll tell you that as well. We bring two completely differently things to the table. I think the thing that both of us do have is we want to win, bottom line, and we'll do whatever it takes to do that."
The Ravens missed Boldin's physical presence downfield last season as he thrived with the 49ers, catching 85 passes for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns.
Boldin, 33, is much bigger than Smith, at 6 feet 1 and 220 pounds, and isn't nearly as fast as Smith, but provides a powerful presence. He has caught 857 career passes for 11,344 yards and 79 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons.
The Ravens are banking on Smith adding production and leadership to their receiving corps.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Smith caught 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns last season. In 13 NFL seasons, the stocky Smith, 34, has 857 catches for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns.
"I think that's a big pick-up for them," Boldin said. "I know Steve personally. Great player, hard worker. I think he'll bring a tough mentality to the team offensively."
After joining the Ravens, Smith praised Boldin during a conference call while going out of his way to note their unique styles.
“I can tell you this: I’m not Anquan Boldin," Smith said. "I respect the heck out of Q, and what Q brings to the table is what Q brings to the table. I’m Steve Smith, and what I bring to the table as a Baltimore Raven, I have to earn that, and my time on the field will display what I bring to the table.
"My comparison to Anquan, I can’t [compare], because I respect the heck out of that guy and what he brings to the table and who he is. We play similar games. We want to win and we go all out. But we’re also individuals, and so I’m not here to replace anyone. I’m here to be myself.”
Boldin was reunited with his old teammates on the basketball court Saturday, hustling for loose balls and taking key shots.
It was like old times, when Boldin was one of the standout players on the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII championship squad.
"These are my friends off the field," Boldin said. "We're not teammates anymore, but we still keep in contact and they support me in whatever they do.
"Those guys call me all the time. I talk to them all the time. They ask me for advice. They support me, I support them. That's a friendship."
Smith said Boldin has remained an important mentor since his departure from the Ravens.
"He meant a lot," Smith said of Boldin. "A lot of folks like to talk about the football thing, but it’s bigger than that. He’s a great family man and someone I look at and idolize that way, the way that he is with his kids and his son. They were always up at the facility. For someone that’s been in his position, he’s a great role model."
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