Anquan Boldin Retires to Pursue a “Purpose Bigger than Football”

Anquan Boldin retires after 14 NFL seasons, for something “bigger than football.” Sunday night Boldin leaves the Buffalo Bills in a statement he made through ESPN. Boldin announces his retirement only two weeks after signing a one-year contract with the Bills. In his statement, Boldin expresses his gratitude for the game’s influence on his core values. He says these life lessons he learned through football taught him to always be there for his teammates. His values are now leading him down a different path in his career.

“Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work. At this time, I feel drawn to make a larger fight for human rights a priority. My life’s purpose is bigger than football,” Boldin states as the reason for his departure from the Bills.

Hours later, Bills General Manager, Brandon Beane, put out a statement:

“We respect Anquan’s decision to retire from the NFL. We appreciate the time he gave us over the past two weeks. He is one of the best receivers to play this game and we wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

Boldin’s career as a wide receiver took him to play for the Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers, and Lions. Anquan Boldin will be retiring with 82 touchdowns under his belt and over 13,700 yards receiving. In the 2008 season with the Cardinals, Boldin was injured, which resulted in a broken jaw. He returned after two games, with his mouth wired shut to finish off the season. Boldin became a Super Bowl Champion in 2012 with the Baltimore Ravens.

Along with his achievements on the field, Boldin has made community outreach a priority in his life. In 2015, Boldin was presented the NFL’s Walter Payton Award for his humanitarian work and performance as a wide receiver. The proceeds from the award went to Boldin’s Q81 Foundation, that he founded in 2004 to help underprivileged children further their education. Bolden and his wife, Dionne, together donated $1 million in 2014, granting over a dozen four-year college scholarships.

In 2015, Anquan Boldin’s cousin, Corey Jones, was fatally shot by a police officer in plain clothes. Jones was waiting for help on the side of the road next to his broken down van. The officer involved was charged with manslaughter by a jury in 2016. Jones’ death seemed to fuel Boldin’s recent work at Capitol Hill. Boldin has since used his platform to be a voice for the African-American community and advocate for reform in the criminal justice system.

Boldin feels pulled to prioritize his humanitarian involvement over his career in football. As a now veteran player, Boldin showed excellence as a wide receiver and will be missed by the NFL.

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