OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Wide receiver Anquan Boldin didn't get a chance to properly say goodbye to the Baltimore Ravens because he was on an African relief mission when he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers 20 months ago. He wasn't able to return to the Ravens' facility, and he had his Super Bowl ring shipped to him after not being able to attend the ring ceremony.
The joint practice between the Ravens and 49ers allowed Boldin to get closure from his former team. He got to talk to former teammates, and he even had a barbecue at his old Baltimore neighborhood Friday night.
"It's been cool to come back and have this happen," Boldin said. "I look at it as an opportunity."
Boldin talked again about how he was shocked initially by getting traded for a sixth-round pick but acknowledged that it's the business part of football.
"It's done and over with now," Boldin said. "I had a year under my belt in San Francisco. I'm looking forward to winning a championship in the Bay Area."
Boldin was a pivotal playmaker in the Ravens' title run in 2012, when he averaged 95 yards per game in the postseason and caught a third down-and-inches pass in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. In his first season with the 49ers, Boldin caught 85 passes for 1,179 yards, both of which topped each of his three seasons with the Ravens.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Saturday that it was painful to trade Boldin. The Ravens were reportedly asking Boldin to take a $2 million pay cut from his $6 million salary. When the sides couldn't reach an agreement, the Ravens dealt him to the 49ers.
"I still blame Ozzie [Newsome, general manager] ... I'm still sore from that deal," Harbaugh said with a smile. "But it was something that we had to do together. We tried like crazy to keep Anquan. [That's something] that people don't realize. We fought like crazy but we were fighting against a number. Those numbers are sometimes not as pliable as you would like them to be. That was our issue on that one. We certainly didn't want to trade Anquan Boldin. He was one of, if not, our best player."
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said Saturday that he remembers the mixed emotions he felt when he heard about Boldin getting traded.
"You feel a little bit upset because you're missing out on such a great wide receiver," he said. "At the same time, you're happy for him that he's going to go somewhere and play and get paid the way he should."
Boldin said there wasn't much of a transition going to the 49ers because he was going from one Harbaugh to another. According to Boldin, the biggest similarity between the coaches is their work ethic.
"They try to instill it in the teams that they coach," Boldin said. "You try to go out and outwork everybody."