Anquan Boldin boxes, staying in shape for 14th NFL season
DETROIT (AP) Anquan Boldin faked Sean Davis off the line, made a short catch and turned it into a longer gain by breaking a tackle and dragging a defender.
The Detroit Lions receiver fooled Pittsburgh Steelers safety by taking a jab step to the right and going left to create space. The veteran then lowered his left shoulder a few yards later to knock the rookie to the ground.
Another veteran, Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, did get Boldin down after he was carried down the field by him for about 10 yards.
Boldin made the most of a limited opportunity to make plays in his Detroit debut, making one impressive reception for 30 yards in a 30-17 preseason win Friday night in Pittsburgh.
''He's a powerful guy,'' Lions Jim Caldwell said Saturday after a short practice back at team headquarters after taking the Lions on an extended road trip to practice and play the Steelers.
''He can catch the ball. He knows how to get open. He has a real good sense of spatial awareness. He's as fine of a competitor as you'll ever see.
''So yeah, he's still very effective.''
He takes punches and delivers his share of them to keep his body in shape.
Boldin, entering his first season with the Lions and 14th year in the NFL, said he began boxing as one of his two daily workouts during the offseason several years ago in Arizona. Boldin later shifted his rigorous regimen to Florida and began sparring with mixed martial arts professionals.
''I work out with MMA and UFC dudes,'' Boldin said. ''I played safety in high school, so I've always liked contact. I've always liked trying to knock guys out.''
When Boldin gets hit hard, does he wonder if a weight room or football field would be a better place for him to break a sweat?
''No,'' he responded quickly. ''If I get hit, you better get ready to get popped.''
The Lions are counting on the signing of Boldin being a hit.
In the post-Calvin Johnson era, he will likely be the No. 3 receiver behind another newcomer, Marvin Jones, and top option Golden Tate.
''There's going to be a lot of situations where defenses are going to have to pick their poison,'' Boldin said.
Boldin's role may grow larger if Eric Ebron has a lingering injury.
The tight end has been out since injuring his lower right leg and getting carted off the field last week.
Boldin is coming off a solid season in San Francisco, making 69 catches for 789 yards and four touchdowns after averaging 84 receptions for the team the previous two years. The 49ers, though, didn't seem very interested in bringing him back.
''I talked to them, but it wasn't anything I saw materializing,'' he said. ''It was more of, `We'll get back to you.'''
Boldin said a lot of teams called, giving him a chance to extend his career before he chose to take a one-year deal with the Lions.
''I could've gone a number of different places, but I thought this was the right fit,'' He said. ''I visited only one other place, Washington, and I cancelled a couple of other visits.''
The 35-year-old Boldin ranks among the NFL's top 20 with 1,009 catches and 13,195 yards receiving. He has scored 75 touchdowns and started 182 games with Arizona, Baltimore and San Francisco over the previous 13 seasons.
In Boldin's last year with the Ravens in 2012, Caldwell closed the Super Bowl-winning season as his offensive coordinator.
Four years later, what differences does Caldwell see?
''Not much,'' Caldwell said. ''Not at all to be honest with you. He's the same guy.''
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