Boldin says he'll let agent handle deal

Updated: July 30, 2009, 8:25 PM ET
Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A toned-down Anquan Boldin says he will let his new agent deal with his long-simmering contract dispute with the Arizona Cardinals.

After the defending NFC champions went through a conditioning test in training camp on Thursday, the three-time Pro Bowl receiver said he will keep his feelings about the contract to himself.

Asked Thursday if he thought the team is being straight with him, Boldin brushed the question aside.

"That's irrelevant," he said. "How I feel isn't going to change a thing."

That's a stark contrast to almost exactly a year ago when he lashed out at the team's management, accusing the Cardinals of lying to him, seeking a trade and vowing never to re-sign with Arizona.

During the offseason, Boldin switched agents from Drew Rosenhaus to Tom Condon.

Condon represents Matt Leinart and has a strong relationship with the Cardinals, who have insisted they want to re-sign Boldin to a long-term deal but had other financial matters ahead of him.

"Business, that's all," Boldin said of the agent switch. "I still have a great relationship with Drew. My younger brother, a couple of guys I mentor, they're still with Drew, so there's still a great relationship between me and him. I still think he's one of the hardest-working dudes in the business but that was just a business decision."

Boldin said the contract issues and the related controversy and speculation were a burden on him throughout last season and he doesn't want that to happen again.

"It's out of my hands," he said. "I mean, whatever happens. I said I'm here at the beginning of camp ready to play football."

He said his goal is to "enjoy life."

Boldin, entering his seventh NFL season, sat out this year's minicamp with what he said was a sore hamstring and then did not participate in Arizona's voluntary summer workouts. He said he had, however, worked out three times a day on his own while spending time on community projects in his hometown of Pahokee, Fla. He also traveled to Europe and the Caribbean.

"It's out of my hands," he said of his contract situation. "I mean, whatever happens. I said I'm here at the beginning of camp ready to play football."

Coach Ken Whisenhunt was grateful not to have to deal with another Boldin tirade.

"It was a little bit of a crazy situation last year at the start of camp," Whisenhunt said. "This year when we're coming off a season that we did last year you know there's going to be enough distractions anyway that you want to be able to minimize that. So it's nice that we don't have a situation like that this year."

Boldin, long considered one of the team's leaders, ranks third in career receptions with the franchise at 502, 33 behind record-holder Larry Centers. Last season, despite missing two games with a fractured face from a horrific hit against the New York Jets, he had a career-high 11 touchdown catches.

In the playoffs, Boldin injured a hamstring on a 71-yard touchdown catch in the first round against the Atlanta Falcons and missed the second-round victory at Carolina. He is well remembered for his sideline shouting match with then-offensive coordinator Todd Haley during Arizona's game-winning drive against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

Boldin signed a four-year, $22.25 million contract after the 2005 season. He is set to earn $2.75 million this season and $3 million in 2010. By contrast, Larry Fitzgerald, his teammate in perhaps the best receiving tandem in football, signed a four-year, $40 million deal, with $30 million guaranteed, after the 2007 season.

"I've said all along that we're a much better team with Anquan on it," Whisenhunt said. "It's my hope and it's been our intention all along to get something worked out long-term. I wish I could say that it would happen right now or yesterday, but that is something the organization is working hard to do and I believe at the first opportunity we're going to do that."

The Cardinals may well follow their usual pattern of waiting until a player has a year left on his deal before seriously negotiating a new one, as they did this year with safety Adrian Wilson. Boldin said he's leaving all business dealings with the Cardinals to Condon.

"I'll stay out of the everyday 'They said this' and whatever," he said. "All I ask for is let me know when something develops. If not, oh well."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press