Several key Ravens players assembled to celebrate the team’s recent Super Bowl victory Monday with the premiere of the season recap DVD at the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric in Baltimore.
The main topic of discussion as they entered on the purple carpet wasn’t a look back at the championship campaign, however.
Not an hour before players arrived, news broke that the Ravens had shipped No. 1 wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick, as opposed to cutting him and his $6 million salary Tuesday.
So talk of Boldin’s departure took over the beginning of the festivities. The first person to walk in was $120 million man Joe Flacco, who was disappointed to see his top option go.
“Anquan was a great receiver for myself and for our football team, for this whole organization,” Flacco said. “It’s sad to see a guy like that go. But at the same time, you just want what’s best for him and I wish him the best of luck.
“You lose a lot of things. You lose a leader, you lose that fire and most importantly, you lose a really good player, a guy that’s done it over and over again.”
Flacco also addressed the potential impact on the team next year, now that it will need to find a way to replace his production.
“Anquan was a big part of this football team, a big part of this offense and one of the many reasons why we won the Super Bowl this year,” Flacco said. “But we’ve got good faith in our young guys and hope they step up to ... play the way they’re capable of playing.”
But Flacco wasn’t necessarily surprised to see it happen considering the effect of the salary cap on the league.
“You see things like this happen every year in the NFL,” Flacco said. “It’s just the nature of the business and it’s just one of those things that you’ve just got to react to and take in stride.”
Update: Smith said he was “shocked” to hear about the trade and seemed more disappointed to be losing Boldin the man than Boldin the receiver.
“We lose a great guy, a great leader. We’ll miss him,” Smith said. “Anquan’s a great role model. Overall, he’s a great guy, great mentor, great person, great father. He’s someone that I’ve got respect for, look up to. I love him like a brother and it’s going to be tough.”
But does the wideout entering his third season believe his role will be affected significantly?
“My role is to go play ball. It doesn’t matter what number (receiver) I play or whatever,” Smith said. “I go out there and play, the ball comes my way, I catch it. It doesn’t really change anything.”
Update II: Jones, who currently stands as the Ravens’ second wideout, had a similar response to what the team loses in Boldin.
“A veteran like that, that’s a lot,” Jones said. “You learned a lot of routes from him, moves, how he thinks, what he sees, but he passed that on to us and he did what he had to do.”
But Jones understood why it had to happen.
“That’s why it’s a business, man. Those things are going to happen,” he said. “I wish Q the best. He’s always a Raven and that means he has something that you can never take from him. So I wish Q the best.”
And as a bonus, Jones also commented on his preparations for ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” with partner Karina Smirnoff.
“Karina is kicking my behind,” he said. “I’ve got so much respect for dancers nowadays. That’s real. That’s real.”