ALLEN PARK >> Interestingly enough, Anquan Boldin caught his first and last career touchdown passes at Ford Field.
The veteran wide receiver, who played for the Lions in 2016, announced his retirement after 14 seasons in the NFL on Sunday.
In Boldin’s retirement announcement he made it clear he will be working on humanitarian efforts — a continuation of what he did in the NFL. He was the NFL’s Man of the Year in 2015.
Typically when Lions coach Jim Caldwell goes to the podium for his daily press conference, he does not make an announcement unless big news is breaking.
But on Monday, he had a few words prepared about Boldin who is 36.
Reaction from the Lions on Boldin’s retirement:
— “He’s not necessarily a guy that’s in front of the media often, but one of the true great gentleman and outstanding performers in our league. Just a quality, quality guy. I find it interesting … about him saying that his desire to help people (was more important than) his desire to continue to play at this stage,’’ Caldwell said. “And he’s one of those guys, you talk about guys that take action and make a difference in your community, who doesn’t just showboat, but he is focused in on trying to find ways to make a positive change. He went to Washington, D.C., last year (with Glover Quin) and he’s had a group that he’s taken young children over to Africa teaching educational lessons along the way through his foundation. So, I know he’s on the road to do some great things and (he’s a) real gentleman. One of the best in the business. … He’s been at it a long time. He’s one of those guys that’s got a great competitive spirit. So, he felt that he had had enough. He’s had a great career though. … Quite a family man and great player as well.”
— Golden Tate shared a few memories including a tale about a blood-dripping glove. “I think Anquan is still playing at a very, very high level. I think he could play as long as he wanted to. Just speaking on his career, I remember being in college watching him and modeling my game after him. I love how strong his hands are. That moment to make a play — he’s going to be the guy who makes the play and (I) had the pleasure of playing with him for a year. When you imagine what a pro looks like you see Anquan. A long career, wasn’t hurt very often through his career .
“He was a guy who showed up early and left late. I’d walk in and he’d be getting out of the hot box, going to the cold tub, getting to the hot tub, always stretching. He took advantage of it. His mindset coming in every day was unique. Every day he was consistent in his work ethic. You never had to worry about if he was going to not make a play or miss an assignment. He was always on point.
“One of the best stories I have, it might have been against Dallas, I think he broke his finger or something. As a receiver breaking your finger it’s kind of a big deal. He went into the locker room for two or three series and came back out and continued to play and he had some key catches in that game for us. I remember seeing his glove drip of blood. He went in, found a way and came back out and helped us. That’s just speaks of who he is.
“You have to admire that he’s transitioning from something he loves and the passion he has for football to something that’s even a bigger cause. That speaks on the kind of man he is. He’s a high character guy who uses the platform he has now to help others and help our future,’’ Tate added.
— Safety Glover Quin also admired Boldin. “Congrats to him, anytime you can play in this league for that many years and be that productive for so many years and to be able to look in the mirror and look in a situation and say, ‘You know what? I feel like my playing days are over. I can have a bigger impact doing something else.’ To have the freedom to walk away is huge. I tip my hat to him,’’ Quin said.