Boldin vows not to become a distraction

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Anquan Boldin's simmering contract dispute with the Cardinals could fade into the background as the season gets under way. That was the feeling I got from Boldin during his recent appearance on Dan Patrick's radio show. I transcribed the entire interview for my own use and thought a few issues deserved elaboration.

Boldin on his status: My status is, I'm a member of the Arizona Cardinals and as long as I'm a member of this team, I'm going to go out and give my all. I think I have an obligation to my teammates as well as the fans to go out and perform because they have worked just as hard as I have to prepare for this season and I don't want to give them anything less than what I have.

This is good news for the Cardinals, affirming Boldin's commitment to his teammates. That comment makes me think Boldin will not speak out about his contract throughout the season. On the other hand, Boldin also said he never wanted his initial comments to become a distraction. I take Boldin at his word on this, but now he knows the type of play such comments will command. The next time his agent or anyone else advises him to speak out, Boldin shouldn't be surprised when the story takes on its own momentum.

Boldin on fallout from his comments: The last thing I wanted to do was be a distraction in camp, a distraction to my teammates, because I don't want them having to answer questions about my situation.

Boldin also sought to clarify the part of his initial comments dealing with coach Ken Whisenhunt. The reports quoted Boldin as saying he had no relationship with Whisenhunt, and that the two weren't even on speaking terms. Whisenhunt denied the characterization. Boldin specifically thought Whisenhunt had become too involved in negotiations. Whisenhunt, general manager Rod Graves and president Michael Bidwill had met with Boldin and his agent before last season. Boldin claims the Cardinals made promises they have since broken.

Against that backdrop, Patrick asked Boldin if he truly has no relationship with his head coach.

Boldin: I mean, I don't, but I think people just, they kind of blew that out, like, kind of singled that relationship out. I was asked who was I disappointed in. I told them exactly who I was disappointed in, the three people in the room at the time. They were asking me do I still talk to those guys or what kind of relationship do I have with them. I told them I don't talk to them and we pretty much don't have a relationship. But for some reason they just singled out Ken Whisenhunt.

Boldin called out the organization several times during this interview. If I'm the Cardinals, I take the high road all the way, handling the situation in private. I prove to Boldin that it's not about winning wars of words or showing up the other party. I do my best to clear up any misunderstandings. I honestly evaluate any organizational missteps in this process and take responsibility for them. I again tell Boldin he will not be traded under any circumstances, and I ask him to reconsider his position. Then I work toward getting a long-term deal.

The problem for the Cardinals, perhaps, is that they've already allocated significant resources to the position. The organization must decide whether paying top-dollar deals to Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin is really the best move when Boldin has three years left on his deal.

Boldin could probably force a trade, eventually, if he committed to becoming enough of a distraction. But if he meant what he said about not going that route, Boldin must decide whether stewing for three years is worth his while.