Boldin likes direction 49ers are headed

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press
    2013-03-20 20:19

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Once the shock of being traded from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens wore off, Anquan Boldin called Colin Kaepernick to get a feel for the 49ers' young quarterback.

The two have spoken several times since then, and Kaepernick can probably expect a few more calls between now and offseason workouts.

Boldin doesn't want anything preventing him from settling in quickly, and getting on the same page with his quarterback was the perfect starting point.

``That's very important for a quarterback and receiver ... it doesn't just happen overnight,'' Boldin said Wednesday. ``Whenever you see a quarterback and receiver on the same page that means they've spent time together.

``I'm excited to get to work with him. A special kid, smart guy, very athletic. For me, hopefully I can help him grow as a quarterback.''

That's one of the primary reasons San Francisco made the move to acquire the 32-year-old Boldin, to give Kaepernick another veteran receiver to throw to. Randy Moss, who spent the 2012 season with the 49ers, is a free agent and isn't likely to re-sign with the team, while Mario Manningham is recovering from reconstructive left knee surgery.

There's also the fact that Boldin is a proven playmaker. He had 65 catches for 921 yards and four touchdowns for Baltimore last season, then helped the Ravens knock off the 49ers in the Super Bowl when he caught six passes for 104 yards and a score.

``I've been playing against that guy in our division twice a year for a while now,'' said kicker Phil Dawson, who signed a one-year deal with the 49ers on Tuesday after spending 14 years in Cleveland. ``He knows how to rise to the challenge at that moment in the game when your team needs a play. Not every guy in the league can do that.''

Dawson joined Boldin in meeting with reporters from the Bay Area, Boldin's first since the deal was announced on the opening day of free agency.

Boldin was in Africa doing charity work with other NFL players at the time the trade was made. The Ravens, needing to free up money after signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a six-year, $120.6 million contract, expressed an interest in keeping Boldin but wanted him to take a pay cut.

When he didn't, Baltimore moved quickly and shipped him to San Francisco in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. The deal rankled many Ravens players and fans, and even had Boldin himself scratching his head.

``I really didn't expect to be traded, especially from the conversations that I had with the Ravens before I left to Africa,'' Boldin said. ``I just thought at some point we would try to work things out, one way or another. I don't think they led me on. The only regret I have is not being able to say goodbye the way that I would like to.''

The receiver still doesn't have a contract extension. He's due to earn $6 million in base salary during the upcoming season, then could become a free agent in 2014 if nothing gets done with the 49ers.

Boldin has yet to meet with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, the younger brother of his former coach in Baltimore. But everything else that has happened since the deal was announced tells Boldin this is a good fit.

``I'm coming to an organization that's known for winning ... that's right on the cusp,'' he said. ``The one thing I can say is this team lacks nothing. It's a team that's right there, a team that's going to be competitive for years to come. Hopefully I can come here and bring something to the table.''

While Boldin was brought in to help the offense, Dawson was signed to settle a special teams unit that had its share of problems in the kicking game last year.

David Akers tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in a season-opening win over Green Bay but struggled the rest of the year, finishing 29 of 42.

The 38-year-old Dawson, who went 29 for 31 on field goals in 2012 including 7 for 7 from 50-plus, believes he can help the 49ers take the next step after they fell short to the Ravens in the Super Bowl last season.

``This is a fresh start for me,'' Dawson said. ``The opportunity to play for a winner, currently a team that's the elite of the elite ... I'm going to be prepared, and hopefully help this team go a little bit farther than they did last year.''

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