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49ers vs. Cardinals: Anquan Boldin faces off against his old team

49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin will make only his second appearance against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals drafted Boldin in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, and he left an indelible mark on the franchise.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers welcome the Arizona Cardinals to town this Sunday, and it marks only the second time Anquan Boldin will have faced his first team. Later this season, the 49ers will travel to Arizona to close out the regular season. That game will actually mark his first game in Arizona since departing the Cardinals.

Boldin was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of 2003 NFL Draft. When he left Arizona, he was the franchise's all time receptions leader. That has since been surpassed by Larry Fitzgerald, but there is no doubt Boldin left an indelible mark on the Cardinals franchise.

I've always been a fan of Anquan Boldin in part because he might be the toughest man in the NFL. In 2008, Boldin took a nasty hit while making a catcher over the middle of the field. The hit resulted in shattering bones in his face. The surgery required 40 titanium screws and seven plates, as well as wiring of his displaced jaw. Boldin missed two games following the surgery, and then was back on the field. Re-read that if it doesn't knock you on your butt. The man is a tough dude.

Here is a rundown of his pertinent stats during his time with the Cardinals. I have to imagine they will either retire his number or place him in some sort of ring of honor after his career concludes. It will be particularly interesting to see the reaction when Boldin returns with the 49ers in December.

  • Holds the NFL record for the fastest to tally 500 career receptions, reaching the milestone on 12/14/08 vs. Minnesota in his 80th career game, nine games faster than Denver's Lionel Taylor (89 games).

  • Was the fastest in NFL history to reach 400 career receptions, connecting against Atlanta (12/23/07) in his 67th-career game, five games faster than the previous record holder (Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr.).

  • In 2003, set NFL rookie records for the most pass receptions (101), most rec. yards in the first game
    of a career (217) and the Cardinals' then single-season receptions record (101) en route to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors

  • Reached the 4,000-yard reception mark in his 48th career game and became the 3rd-fastest player in NFL history to reach the milestone behind Lance Alworth (42) and Randy Moss (47); Charley Hennigan and Jerry Rice also did it in 48 games

  • In 2009, Boldin eclipsed 7,000 career receiving yards in his 88th career game, tying Isaac Bruce as the 5th fastest receiver in NFL history to reach 7,000 yards

  • Holds the Cardinals record for the most consecutive games with a TD reception with 6

  • Ranks first in Cardinals history with 5 consecutive 100-yard reception games

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