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Former Raven Anquan Boldin retires from football to focus more on humanitarian work

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Former Raven Anquan Boldin retires from football to focus more on humanitarian work

ORCHARD PARK, New York -- Receiver Anquan Boldin is abruptly giving up on football to pursue his humanitarian and charitable work just under two weeks after signing with the Buffalo Bills.

Boldin released a statement on Sunday night shortly after informing the Bills of his decision.

"Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work," Boldin. "At this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority. My life's purpose is bigger than football."


He added that football brings together people of different races and religions to strive toward one shared goal, and how important it is to not let your fellow man down.

Boldin, the NFL's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year, oversees the south Florida-based Q81 Foundation, which offers educational support for under-privileged children.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team respects Boldin's decision to retire.

"We appreciate the time he gave us over the past two weeks," Beane said. "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 decision came as a complete surprise, especially after he talked about building on his legacy entering his 15th season and being open to serving as a mentor for Buffalo's young group of receivers. Though he was non-committal about his future beyond this year, Boldin was intent on playing this season upon signing a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.75 million on Aug. 7.

"At this point in your career, you can't get too far ahead of yourself, so I just take it a year at a time," he had said. "Once I'm committed, I'm all in."

The Bills, however, aren't the same team he joined. Only four days after Boldin signed, Buffalo traded its top receiving threat in Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines as part of two blockbuster deals on Aug. 11. In a separate trade, the Bills acquired receiver Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia for starting cornerback Ronald Darby.

The Bills also acquired second- and third-round draft picks in an indication the team is more intent on building through next year's draft.

Though surprised by the moves, Boldin insisted at the time that Watkins' presence had little to do with him signing with Buffalo.

"For me, I would've loved to have played alongside of Sammy, but that wasn't the reason I signed here," Boldin had signed. "The reason I signed here is the guys who are still here. I believe in coach Sean (McDermott) and what he's doing and the direction this organization is heading in."

McDermott is a first-time coach who spent the past six seasons as the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator. He was hired in January to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired in the final week of last season.

Boldin ranks in the top four among active receivers with 1,076 catches, 13,779 yards receiving and 82 touchdowns receiving.

He appeared in just one preseason game for Buffalo, and finished with one catch for 5 yards in a 20-16 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Boldin spent last season with Detroit, where he had 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games. The former Florida State star spent his first seven NFL seasons with Arizona, then played three years with Baltimore and three with San Francisco. He helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl in February 2013.

The Bills are in a sudden state of disarray at the receiver position three weeks before the season opens, and in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought -- the longest active streak in North America's four professional sports.

Boldin was supposed to fill a top-three spot alongside Matthews and rookie second-round draft pick Zay Jones.

Matthews, however, is listed as week to week after chipping a bone in his sternum during his first practice after being traded. He began light workouts on Sunday, and is on track to be ready for the season opener against the New York Jets.

Free-agent addition Rod Streater's status is more uncertain after hurting his left toe against Philadelphia. McDermott said the medical staff is still evaluating Streater's injury and wouldn't rule out the possibility of surgery.

That leaves Andre Holmes and Philly Brown now competing for an increased role in an offense headed by quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?