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Grant Cohn: Anquan Boldin's intensity can carry 49ers, but not every week, not this week

  • San Francisco 49ers' Anquan Boldin during NFL football training camp on Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

They were wet. He took the corner of the towel and dried the skin between his toes. At this moment his universe extended to his toes and no farther.

Compare Boldin to Colin Kaepernick who walks through the locker room like the president, meeting with his constituents, smiling, laughing. Making sure everything is smooth.

Boldin is a loner who hardly smiles and doesn't talk when he doesn't have to. When you interview him, he stares at you blankly. He gives you no reaction while you ask a question, no look of encouragement or annoyance or understanding. Just a dead-fish stare revealing nothing. While you ask your question, you feel like you're pleading with a loan shark, "Please, can I give you the money tomorrow? I promise I'll have it tomorrow." And he just stares at you.

He cocks his head to the right and leans toward you like he's trying to show you his soul through his eyes. Do you understand who I am? Do you understand who you're talking to?

He looks like death staring at you from the depths of his hooded cowl.

And then he lets you off the hook. His shoulders relax. His head eases back. He answers your question earnestly, thoughtfully, patiently.

But you know you saw something, an intense side, a scary side, you saw it. You get the feeling he reserves this scary side of his personality for his opponents.

In an Elmore Leonard novel, Boldin is the guy who always is a step ahead of his enemies, calm and poised for any situation and he gets the girl and the money at the end.

In football, Boldin is the ultimate pro, the kind of player a team needs to win a Super Bowl. He can make the do-or-die catch. That's what he did with the Ravens in the playoffs last season. He was their best player when it counted.

"At times, it's almost like he wills things to happen," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said about Anquan Boldin Thursday afternoon.


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