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Anquan Boldin discusses future, eventual retirement

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The San Francisco 49ers and Anquan Boldin have made for a great partnership. How much longer might it last?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

To say the addition of Anquan Boldin has been a success for the San Francisco 49ers would be an understatement. The wide receiver has been Colin Kaepernick's favorite receiver, and has been a critical playmaker the last two seasons.

Boldin also happens to be 34 years of age (turning 35 in early October), and is a free agent after this season. We have not discussed his future all that much, but it is obviously something to consider. He has not shown any signs of slowing down at this point. Speed is not his game, so the rigors of age do not necessarily have the same impact on him as they would a deep threat receiver. The 49ers decision to try and extend him will likely depend in part on DeAndre Smelter's recovery, and if anybody else emerges this season. After all, this is the league of the young and cheaper options, and even the greatest of players face that eventually.

However, Boldin might be likely to go out earlier than later on his own terms. In that B/R interview I mentioned yesterday, aside from talking about Jim Tomsula, Boldin also talked about his future. Jason Cole asked him about whether being twice traded continues to motivate him. In responding to that, Boldin said he felt the need to keep working to prove those teams made a mistake in trading him. That resulted in the following exchange:

B/R: So it doesn't sound like you're close to retiring yet.

Boldin: I'll finish the game on my own terms. I don't want to overstay my welcome. If I'm not playing at a high level, I will leave on my terms. But I will also say for myself that when I do retire, I will have a lot left in the tank.

B/R: So you're not one of those guys who wants to play until he's 40 or 45 years old?

Boldin: No, I don't want to do that. I think it's kind of selfish to want to play until you're 40 or 45. I have two boys now, and I'm 34. If I play until I'm 40 and my oldest, he'll be in 11th grade and I'll have missed his entire time growing up just so that I can be a football player. Being a football player takes a lot of time and sacrifice by everybody, including your family. Obviously, I can give him a lot of things by playing football, but that's not worth the time that we can spend together. There are a lot of things I want to do as a husband and as a father, and football takes a lot of that time away. The money won't mean as much as the time.

It will be interesting to see just how long Boldin decides to keep playing. He does strike me as the kind of player who can play into his late 30s, and not really see a huge drop-off. But he does not seem to want to do this. The question is when exactly he hangs it up. I could see him signing one more short deal and calling it quits after that. Of course, given how this past offseason has gone, if he walked away after the 2015 season, would it really be all that surprising? He is a guy who has developed a lot of things off-the-field, and he could decide he wants to focus on those with his family.

For 49ers fans, the big question is whether he will stick around with the 49ers after this year. Will he want to stick around, and will the 49ers look to extend him a little further. The latter will depend in part on what the rest of the wide receivers show in 2015. I don't expect an extension at this point, but rather I see something next offseason if they are able to work something out.