SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jim Harbaugh got the scouting report on Anquan Boldin from his brother right around the time of the offseason trade that sent Boldin from John's Baltimore Ravens to Jim's San Francisco 49ers.
A meticulous worker who never takes a snap off even in practice. A fierce competitor who only gets better when the stakes get larger. The consummate pro.
Through 16 regular-season games that featured 85 catches for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns, Boldin more than lived up to his billing in his first season with the 49ers, and was chosen the winner of the Bill Walsh Award as team MVP on Friday.
"Anquan Boldin is a football player," Jim Harbaugh said this week. "Let me say it again, Anquan Boldin is a football player. And, that sums up everything. That's the highest compliment you could give somebody that plays the game of football."
The Niners saw firsthand what Boldin can do on the stage of the postseason a year ago when he played a big role in winning the Super Bowl for the Ravens and denying the 49ers their sixth title.
He caught a 13-yard pass for the first score of the game, and finished with six receptions for 104 yards. The biggest of those catches might have come in the fourth quarter when Boldin caught a 15-yard pass from Joe Flacco on third-and-1 with Carlos Rogers draped all over him.
That set up Baltimore's last field goal that forced the 49ers to go for a touchdown on their final drive instead of being able to win the game with a field goal.
Now Boldin tries to get the Niners past that last hurdle in this postseason, starting Sunday in Green Bay.
"I felt like I fit right in," he said. "'Just coming off a Super Bowl loss, everybody wanted to get back to that game and make things right. I've been in that position, lost a Super Bowl, and it left a bitter taste in my mouth. Every time I get the chance to wipe that taste off, I'm going to take advantage of it."
Despite his importance to the team, the Ravens dealt Boldin to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick when he wouldn't restructure the contract that owed him $6 million this season.
While the Ravens failed to make the playoffs, the 49ers won 12 games in part because Boldin helped fill the void created by an offseason torn right Achilles tendon that sidelined Michael Crabtree for the first 11 games.