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Anquan Boldin: Bills disappointed but understanding of retirement

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Boldin: Passion for people outweighs passion for football (1:41)

Retired WR Anquan Boldin explains that the NFL gave him a great platform to serve others, but now his passion for helping people is greater than it is for playing football. (1:41)

Former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin expects Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane to be disappointed with his decision to retire Sunday -- only 13 days after telling McDermott he was "all-in" in signing with the Bills.

"I'm sure that they are [disappointed]," Boldin told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. "I wouldn't expect them to be anything less. But as [men], they respect it. They wished me nothing but the best, and I appreciate that."

Boldin signed a one-year deal with a $1 million signing bonus on Aug. 7. It is unclear whether he will pay back the bonus or whether the team will ask for the money back.

In a statement to ESPN, Boldin said he retired to make "the larger fight for human rights a priority." He added Monday that he was influenced by the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.

"For me, I'm uncomfortable with how divided we are as a country," Boldin said.

In a separate interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Boldin said, "That's not the America that I want to live in."

"And I think the only way that this America changes is that we as a people stand up and change it."

As difficult as it was to walk away from football, Boldin said he felt he could no longer stand silent on the sideline.

"There's not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread," the 36-year-old father of two boys said.

"I will not feel safe leaving this earth and having my kids have to live in the America that we have today."

Boldin then challenged NFL owners and executives to use their clout to demand change and back many of their players who are already doing so by protesting during the national anthem.

"You have your players crying out for help. That's the reason why guys are taking knees during the anthem," he said.

"Just because we're professional athletes doesn't mean we're exempt from the things that go on in society. ... If I'm an owner and I see one of my family members -- players -- hurting, I'd do whatever I can to make sure that my family is OK."

Boldin also said in his SiriusXM NFL Radio interview that he believes he could still play in the NFL despite retiring before what would have been his 15th season. After signing with the Bills, he said his goal in continuing to play was to win the second championship of his career.

"That's the reason I play this game," Boldin said Aug. 8. "That's the reason I'm here -- to try and win a championship and nothing else."

The Bills traded former No. 4 overall pick Sammy Watkins three days later, acquiring a 2018 second-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams. Without his top receiver, quarterback Tyrod Taylor struggled in a preseason loss Thursday to the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing two interceptions and posting a 12.0 quarterback rating.

After trading Watkins for a draft selection, Beane used Boldin's signing as an example of why he felt the Bills were still able to win this season.

"Everybody's forgetting we signed Anquan last week," Beane said Aug. 11. "This is not a throw-in-the-towel thing at all."

Boldin insisted Monday that neither the trade of Watkins nor Taylor's struggles had an impact on his decision to retire.

"[It was about] what happened in Charlottesville, not what happened in Buffalo," Boldin said. "For me, I didn't come to Buffalo just to play with Sammy Watkins. I feel like we still had it on the offensive side of the ball, as well as the team overall, to get the job done.

"I think Tyrod is a fine quarterback, and I think he'll be just great. I have all the confidence in the world in Tyrod. I played in this league for 14 years, and I don't think [you can see] how a season is gonna go based off of one preseason game."

Boldin said he felt a "certain obligation" to remain with his teammates this season, which made his retirement decision difficult.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.