Below is a transcript of the above interview with former Arizona Cardinal Anquan Boldin.
Blake Murphy 0:21
You’re listening to the revenge of the birds podcast part of the SB Nation podcast, hosted by BlakeMurphy7 All About Arizona Cardinals.
Alright, this is Blake Murphy with Revenge of the Birds and interviewing today with Anquan Bolding to talk about the FanDuel Fan Fest event. Quan, first of all, welcome back to the Desert!
Anquan Boldin 0:45
Thank you. Appreciate it.
Blake Murphy 0:46
Absolutely. What brings you back to Arizona?
Anquan Boldin 0:49
FanDual fan fest, you know, being able to interact with the fans. Catch up with some of my former teammates, Edgerrin and Kurt. And just having fun.
Blake Murphy 1:00
It’s great. Yeah, there’s been a huge advent of legalized sports betting. There’s a huge boom with in person sport books and online so as an athlete and former star, why is that you think that sports betting in particular is such a big draw for people?
Anquan Boldin 1:14
That’s a good question. But I think out here in Arizona has been a long time coming, especially with all the casinos like popping up everywhere. And just talking to the people that work here, they say this place is busy everyday, all day. So doesn’t hurt to have, you know, sports franchises that are doing well, like the Cardinals and the Suns that I think that it kind of drives it as well.
Blake Murphy 1:37
Yes, absolutely. Now, let’s go back and talk about some of your time with the Cardinals. You know, you’re drafted in 2003, you’re fourth all time in receiving for the team, you help lift the Cardinals into being a legit contender. What sticks out to you the most from your time, especially, maybe, during that 2008 run?
Anquan Boldin 1:54
I think, for me, the thing that sticks out the most is like what you said, you know, helping take a franchise from the bottom of the NFL, and eventually be, you know, a team playing for a championship. You know, it’s something that I wear with a badge of honor. You know, before, I tell people, you know, before I was drafted here, I had never seen Arizona play on TV.
Blake Murphy 2:17
Anquan Boldin 2:18
Yeah. And then I get drafted here, you know, kind of tasked with helping turn the franchise around. And, you know, we were able to do that, you know, with the help of a lot of guys that came in. So that’s something that I’m proud of.
Blake Murphy 2:31
Absolutely. That’s great. Now, when the name Anquan Boldin comes to mind, the first word that I think of at least is “toughness”, I think that you helped bring a toughness to the Cardinals bring a toughness to that franchise, that toughness is a big part of like you said, turning Arizona around. Do you see that same type of toughness in this year’s Cardinals team? Why or why not?
Anquan Boldin 2:50
Yeah, I think so. I think you see a resilient group. And just like every every other team in the NFL, you deal with injuries or whatever. But I think the way that they dealt with it this year, has been a credit to them. Most teams, when you lose your starting quarterback, you’ll probably lose the next three out of four games, but you know, those guys really rallied around Colt. And you know, think they only lost one game with Colt at the helm. So that’s saying a lot to be able to lose a quarterback, your starting quarterback and still keep the ship right.
Blake Murphy 3:23
I totally agree with that one. Now, you know something about winning a title. You’re a former Super Bowl champion with the Ravens, the Cardinals right now have ascended to the top of the NFC. They still have got Rogers and Brady, obviously a tough division. Do you think the Cardinals have a legit shot at a Super Bowl this year? Or is it going to be kind of a long-term deal of building themselves up?
Anquan Boldin 3:43
I think they’re built to win right away. I think with the weapons that they have in place, Kyler Murray at the helm, I think they’re built to win right now. I mean, yeah, you have you have Brady in the, in the NFC . And you have Rogers but I think, you know, the Cardinals have a pretty good success rate versus Aaron Rodgers.
Blake Murphy 4:05
*laughs* I was gonna say, you would know about that at least!
Anquan Boldin 4:06
*laughs* But like I said, I think they’re built, you know, they play they can score points and they can keep people from scoring. You know, they can they can stifle your running game and I think those are the things that really count in the later months of the season.
Blake Murphy 4:21
Absolutely. Let’s talk some Kyler Murray then. As you mentioned him he’s been sensational for Arizona this season. A lot of people say that you can’t talk about Kyler without talking about his Texas high school football record. He went undefeated in high school but you’re actually something of a high school football legend in Florida yourself at least a lot of people don’t know you play quarterback for the team...believe you won Mr. Football?
Anquan Boldin 4:41
Blake Murphy 4:42
What was kind of at least as far as...what that transition was like from quarterback to receiver for you going into your career in Florida State?
Anquan Boldin 4:50
You know, being being being a quarterback throughout my entire high school career make the transition a lot easier. Because I think you know when you’re a quarterback you see things from a Big Picture point of view. You understand what, what everybody is doing as opposed to just knowing your position alone. As a quarterback, you have to know blocking schemes, you have to know what each received for the route each receivers running, you have to know what the running back is doing, if he’s protecting if he’s, you know, free releasing. So for me, it helped me a lot to see the big picture. And understand why was I running a certain route. It wasn’t just oh, I have a slant route or I have a post route, but it was more “so why am I running this route”? Because most times, you’re running the route to get somebody else open.
Blake Murphy 5:34
Right? Yeah, absolutely. That’s great. With this week, we have the high school football championships are in Arizona at least that’s that’s where it ties into forest for high school career college career. What advice would you give to some of those guys who are you know, putting it on the line trying to win that championship this week as like a high school player, the world wide open for them? What advice would you give at least to some of those high school players that are trying to figure out the next step in their football careers.
Anquan Boldin 5:59
I would just tell guys to make the most of the opportunity and enjoy it. Because this opportunity doesn’t come around. Often. It’s not every every year that you have the opportunity to play for a championship. And it’s something that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives. Although you may be 14, 15, 16 right now. Whether you win or lose, you will remember this game, even when you’re 40 years old, so make the most of it.
Blake Murphy 6:23
That’s great, that’s great. This year, the Cardinals selected a receiver in the second round Rondale Moore. Steve Keim the Cardinals GM called him the most impactful receiver he’s seen in camp since of course, you Anquan, obviously he didn’t say he was better! He just said that he was most impactful since what would be something that you say that you wish you would have known as a rookie or would have done or maybe even just advice for that rookie second rounder coming out of Purdue, that you would be able to say it was for him as he joins what’s already been a really fast paced, hard moving Cardinals team?
Anquan Boldin 6:54
That’s a good question. I think, um, I think our situation is different, though. He’s coming in to a situation where he has a lot of veterans, he has AJ Green. He has D Hop, you know, the two leaders in that receiver group, I came into a situation where I was looked upon as, like a veteran in my rookie year, I didn’t have the guys that I can lean on, who had that experience, who were veterans in my group. So a lot was put on my shoulders, I think for him, I would just tell him to learn as much as you can from those two guys. They’ve been around, they’ve done it for a long time. And they know what it takes to be real professional. So you know, just take as much as you can from them right now. Because you won’t always have that. And someday, you know, you’ll have guys looking to you for that leadership. So make the most of it.
Blake Murphy 7:45
I think that’s great advice, at least overall. *aside* So hopefully you’re hearing that Rondale, right? *laughs*
Anquan Boldin 7:51
Blake Murphy 7:51
Let’s talk a bit with this year and 2020...2021. There’s been tons of people having to overcome adversity, a lot of struggles and trials, at least overall in the world. What are some of the things at least if you had to overcome a lot of adversity in 2008, where I think it was you had a fractured like parts of with your with your nose had to come back and only just a couple of weeks, for the most part to help get the team and still elevate them to a Super Bowl? As someone who’s overcome a lot of that adversity. What do you think would be areas of just general advice for people who may be you know, took a hit during the pandemic, at least I end up losing a job during the pandemic, a lot of other people I know have had other struggles. What are some of the ways that people can do in their own lives to overcome some of those different struggles and tragedies?
Anquan Boldin 8:32
Yeah, I think the biggest thing is just to continue to push. You know, I know anybody in life, at some point you’re going to endure hardships things that are not favorable to you. But I think that the thing that you can do is give up, you know, in my household, quitting was never an option. So we always had to persevere, we always had to push and you know, the older I get, that’s one of my, my favorite words the word persevere. And you continue to push even when, even when, you don’t know what the end will look like. And I guarantee you if you if you persevere and you continue to push through, you’ll like the end results.
Blake Murphy 9:16
That’s great. You spent some time, are spending time with your teammates this week at least and former teammates with the FanDuel Fan Fest. What are some stories at least they stick out to you? You don’t throw anyone under the bus obviously at least but what are some stories at least maybe times with Kurt or Edge or other those players that you may be spending time with at the Fan Fest this weekend? Either stories or just the impact that maybe they had on their life or maybe tomorrow, you’re able to speak into their life at some point.
Anquan Boldin 9:40
Yeah, I think you know. The thing that I remember most is just, you know, the camaraderie that we have between between all of us. You know, Edgerrin is a guy that I sought out and at the time you got to think Edgerrin was with Reggie Wayne and he was with you Marvin Harrison, and Peyton Manning, and for me it was, you know, we had me, Kurt and Fitz. And I’m just trying to figure out a way that we can get a back like that, you know, to the valley, and which was tough, you know, leaving the situation that he was in, he was drafted to Indy, have been with those guys for for quite some time. But I wanted to make sure that we had a back in the Valley that people respected. That can draw people to the box, as opposed to, you know, two high safeties, every, every down. So, you know, as soon as I got it I recruited, you know, in off-seasons, when we had charity events that both of us attended, you know, I was always being in his ear, like, “Hey, man, what do you think about coming, coming to Arizona, coming to Phoenix and playing with us wherever”, and eventually it worked out. And I was happy that he came out and played with us. And, you know, he was one of those guys who helped change the culture out in Arizona and the mindset that guys had. So I’m forever grateful for my time with him and Kurt.
Blake Murphy 11:03
Nothing you’ll love better as a receiver than having a strong run game so you can get that one on one coverage.
Anquan Boldin 11:07
*chuckles* Definitely, makes my job a lot easier.
Blake Murphy 11:10
Absolutely. Let’s go and talk a little bit...you’ve been partnered with a lot of other organizations, and you’ve even transitioned into a lot of full time advocacy, a lot of charity work, at least. What are some of the current projects that you’ve had, at least as far as what’s in the works right now, or areas at least even passionate about for projects?
Anquan Boldin 11:28
Um, you know, social justice has been something that I’ve been passionate about, for, for quite some time, now, I lost a cousin at the hands of a law enforcement officer, after he broke down on the side of the road. And for me, you know, breaking down on the side of the road, in this in this country should never cost you your life. Especially at the hands of law enforcement, who are sworn in protect, but who are sworn to protect us. So that’s been a mission of mine, you know, since that happened six years ago, and, you know, we’re really just trying to make sure that the world that we live in, is fair for us all, no matter what skin color, you have, no matter what your background, your culture, religious beliefs or anything. So just trying to make sure that people are treated equally across the board.
Blake Murphy 12:14
I think that’s something everyone should be able to get behind. Let’s ask one of the big questions. You retired as a Raven, but spent the majority of your career in Arizona, and there’s a lot of Cardinals fans who like, like, “Anquan should be in the Ring of Honor. Like he’s one of the great Cardinals we have, we should respect and honor him.” How do you feel about that? Like, is it a spot where you think that’s accurate? Is your identity more tied to a team like the Ravens? Or is this a spot where all of these teams just part of what makes up “Q”?
Anquan Boldin 12:39
Yeah, I think, you know, every, every word I played is made, made up a part of who I am. But you know, it started here in Arizona, not played. I was drafted here spent my first seven years here. Like I said, I was happy to help change around an organization who wasn’t seen in the same light that is seen in today.
Blake Murphy 12:59
Anquan Boldin 13:00
So you know, if I was able, able to go into the Ring of Honor, it would be, it would be an honor for me. Every time I stepped on the field, I gave it my all and I hope that the fans can appreciate that, you know, my my relationship with the fans have never changed. You know, every time I come to Phoenix, it’s always welcome. As always a warm welcome. You know, I tried to express that same gratitude to them.
Blake Murphy 13:28
There’s still Anquan Boldin jerseys I’ll see going down to the game [on Gameday], it’s just one of those classic, more timeless things, at least, fans keep remembering those times. A main reason we’re here today is to talk about FanDuel, and especially the Fan Fest. So that’s one of the partnerships that you have and what are some of the events that are going on this weekend that fans should know about? Or that they can expect?
Anquan Boldin 13:46
Yeah there’s a fan fest that’s being held in Scottsdale this weekend. This is an opportunity for fans to come out and be interactive with the players, myself, Adrian and Kurt to name a few. I mean, there’ll be a live concert by Nelly towards the closing of the day. But, you know, there’s a lot of competitions that you can come out and be involved in; quarterback competitions. There’s an extra competition if you’d like that stuff. Guys can run the 40 yard dash, pop shot so it’s a day of fun for the fans.
Blake Murphy 14:16
That’s great. Now I would say I think you’re taking on Edge in an axe-throwing competition is that alright, so if I was gonna go on to FanDuel...there’s not odds there for an axe-throwing competition, I wish there was. But if there were for that one, what should I bet on? It’s like...Alright, you’re gonna go ahead and just like, you know sayI should just [place a] straight bet on you for that one; put it all down? Or is it a spot where maybe you would hedge the bet a little bit? How comfortable and confident are you?
Anquan Boldin 14:37
Yeah, I think you will have to go with the former quarterback on that one [for the axe-throwing) *laughs*
Blake Murphy 14:41
Well said! Also Kurt Warner and Zachary Levi will be there. He’s got, of course, his movie with American Underdog coming out. It’s gonna be a great time. What else is there at least as far as for if you had to sell someone on Fan Fest for anything or any other reason? What would be the biggest thing you would say to them?
Anquan Boldin 14:58
As to why they should, well the thing I’m looking forward to most is the food trucks. So I don’t know how people out here feel about it. But you know, anytime I can find a good food truck it’s almost like having some of your favorite restaurants right next to each other. And you can order off one menu and get all of them. So that’s the thing I’m looking forward to the most.
Blake Murphy 15:21
Great. So we’ve got all sorts of things like drills, a concert, you got food, you got Axe Throwing, at least you got all sorts of Q&A. This is all going to be December...Saturday, December 11, 1pm Westworld Scottsdale. What’s the cost to get in?
Anquan Boldin 15:35
Blake Murphy 15:36
Okay, so it’s free, how do you get into the event?
Anquan Boldin 15:39
Just go online [for tickets].
Blake Murphy 15:40
And that wraps up all the questions for today. Thank you so much for your time.
Anquan Boldin 15:49
Thanks for having me.
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