When potential future Hall of Famer Anquan Boldin announced his sudden retirement from the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 20, the team’s fans were stunned.
Boldin’s Buffalo tenure lasted all of 13 days and one preseason game (an uninspiring one catch for five yards in a Week 2 setback to the Philadelphia Eagles), and his unexpected retirement to focus on his humanitarian work had Bills’ fans scratching their heads over the timing.
Combined with the trade of Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, Boldin’s departure left Buffalo’s receiving corps in a state of flux. While Bills Mafia was left reeling after Boldin announced his retirement, they might be downright seething if the recent news is true: that Boldin is contemplating un-retiring to play for Bill Belichick and Buffalo’s bitter AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots.
According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, Boldin is “intrigued by the possibility” of playing for the Patriots and catching passes from Tom Brady. But just because there is mutual interest in Boldin playing for New England, doesn’t make that outcome a foregone conclusion: In order for Boldin to un-retire and take his talents to Foxboro, the Bills would need to release him, a move that would then allow the Patriots to ink Boldin to a contract.
A second (and equally unlikely) option is the Bills and Patriots work out a deal where Buffalo receives an asset (another draft pick?) in exchange for Boldin.
For now, it appears a longshot that Boldin would line up in the slot as a replacement for Julian Edelman, who tore his ACL and is out for the season. Besides, coming out of retirement would severely hamper his pledge to devote more time combating the “racial inequality present in America.”
“There’s not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread,” Boldin, the NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year told John Wawrow of the Associated Press last month. “I will not feel safe leaving this earth and having my kids have to live in the America that we have today.”
Wawrow also looked into the Volin report over the weekend, saying that he didn’t dispute what the Globe writer reported but that it “doesn't appear talks between Boldin and Patriots ever got to point of anyone contacting Bills.”
If Boldin were to un-retire and play for New England, he would join RB Mike Gillislee, CB Stephon Gilmore, and WR Chris Hogan as ex-Bills who now are members of the Patriots.
Entering the 2017 season, Boldin ranks ninth all-time in career receptions (1,076 catches) and has amassed 13,779 yards receiving with 82 touchdowns catches.