Lions' Anquan Boldin campaigning for Rep. Keith Ellison at DNC meeting

Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin is heading to Atlanta on Friday to support Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of the candidates to become the Democratic National Committee chairperson.

Boldin’s efforts to back Ellison were first reported by SB Nation and confirmed to ESPN by one of Ellison’s spokesmen, Brett Morrow, on Thursday night. Boldin is scheduled to speak at a reception for Ellison on Friday evening.

Boldin and Ellison initially met in November, when Boldin, Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown and Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins traveled to Washington to meet with lawmakers to discuss police brutality and race relations.

“I’m incredibly grateful to have Anquan’s support,” Ellison told SB Nation. “He’s been a stand-up leader not just on the field, but off the field as well. And if I become the chair of the Democratic National Committee, I’ll work with him and all other advocates who care deeply about the issues of our time, which are economic fairness, the environment and community/police relations.”

While in Washington, Boldin and the other NFL players met with Ellison, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

For Boldin, the issue of community-police relations and race relations became even more personal in 2015, when his cousin, Corey Jones, was shot and killed while seeking roadside assistance in Florida, something he discussed at length with ESPN's Jim Trotter last year.

The death of his cousin got Boldin even more involved in politics and trying to make a difference. That’s how he met Ellison.

"I am committed to a bipartisan approach to criminal-justice reform and other important issues facing our country,” Boldin said in a statement given to Trotter. “I intend to continue working closely with both Republicans and Democrats committed to working together to improve our communities.

“Keith and I visited a few months ago and I know he will be a tremendous leader for the Democratic Party. He is committed to the idea that our country is still about liberty and justice for everyone. I am honored to support Keith for DNC chair."

Boldin is one of the most respected players in the NFL. The 36-year-old was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2015 and is a three-time Pro-Bowler. He’s also No. 9 all time with 1,076 receptions and No. 14 in receiving yards (13,779).