Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Q: So how did the first practice go and how much had you been doing, football-wise, prior to today?

A: Today went well for a first day, but I’ve been doing this for quite some time now. You don’t put too much into that first day as far as knowing everything. Knowing you’re coming into a new system, it’s still like you’re a rookie. You have to learn everything and I’m still in that process so I’m still learning, still studying, doing extra meetings with my position coach – just trying to get caught up as much as possible.

Q: Zay Jones told us that you’re already in the huddle calling plays and stuff like that. He was impressed at how you were already well-versed in the playbook?

A: Well, it’s because I didn’t get any sleep last night. But like I said, I’m just trying to get caught up. These guys have been going through it in the spring and had about 11 or 12 practices in training camp so I’m behind so I’m just trying to catch up as much as possible.

Q: Why was this the right fit for you? Why were the Bills the right spot for you?

A: I just felt comfortable when I took my visit. I had a chance to meet my coach [and] just liked the direction that everything was headed in.

Q: At this stage, you’ve accomplished so much in, really, everything. What’s driving you for a another season in this league?

A: For me, I still have a passion to play football. Coming here to Buffalo, I’ve seen how excited the fans are and how into football they are. I love the culture that’s around here. I know some guys that are on this team. I know where their hearts are [and] how they view football so I felt like this was a good place for me to be.

Q: During the visit, between then and when you signed, can you kind of walk us through the relationship and how that all evolved between you and the Bills in your decision-making process?

A: Well, for me, it was just staying in contact with them. Letting them know where I was, the things I was trying to process. Like I said, I felt like it was a good fit so that wasn’t a question of whether I wanted to be here or not. I was just trying to get other things figured out.

Q: When practice was over, you got the receivers together and talked to a few of the guys who were encouraged by what you said to them. Can you tell us what you said to the guys?

A: That’s in-house stuff. I mean, you can’t share [that]. But, [I was] just encouraging them. Some of those guys, it is their first training camp. In training camp, some guys get tired. That’s just the process of it, but just trying to keep those guys motivated and letting them know that, in spite of how you feel, you have to come out and work every day.

Q: Anquan, I know that it’s just day 1 but is it nice to already be familiar with Tyrod Taylor?

A: Yeah. That is a sense of comfort, there. A guy who I played with for a couple of years, having him be the guy to throw the football – it does bring a sense of comfort.

Q: How do you react when a guy like Zay says ‘I was six when he first began playing – he played with my uncle’?

A: Probably the same way – I mean, I played with Emmitt Smith my rookie year and I gave him heat about having his rookie card and all that stuff so I guess it’s just me getting it back.

Q: But, to be still playing at the level that you’re playing at, how much longer do you think you can still play, given what you did in Detroit when you scored eight touchdowns and what you’ve done?

A: Only time will tell. For me, I just take it one year at a time. Especially at this point of your career, you can’t get too far ahead of yourself so I just take it a year at a time. Once I’m committed, I’m all in and I see how the season goes from there and make a decision in the offseason.

Q: One could’ve looked at your situation and easily said ‘well, he’s going to play.’ But a player in those circumstances would normally look for what looked like a team that’s closer to more of a contender in the postseason. And I’m not saying that they can’t be, but when you were sorting out opportunities, how did that weigh in your thinking? Like, how close would this team or a team be to being a contender?

A: Well, I think this team is close enough, to be honest with you. The thing you can’t do is try to figure out which team is going to win the Super Bowl. I mean, there [are] a lot of experts out there that are wrong every year and I just know that from playing football. Some of the best teams I’ve been on haven’t won a Super Bowl. There’s a lot of variables and there’s a lot of factors that go into winning a Super Bowl and you just have to have some things go right – Injuries being one of them. That’s something that nobody can predict. When you’re in the offseason and you’re trying to go through all that stuff, you can’t beat your head trying to figure out ‘what if’ or ‘if this happens.’

Q: I read that your grandfather has a connection here, he’s a pro boxer and he trained in the Syracuse area. Did you ever come up here or even know about the area before you came up here?

A: I have family in this area. I have family in Buffalo. I have family in Rochester. I’m definitely well connected in this area.

Q: At this point, what is it that motivates you? Like Tyrod Taylor said, he comes up, he’s on the field, he plays with a chip on his shoulder. What at this point in your career do you have to prove to anyone?

A: I don’t think I have anything to prove, but for me, it’s about leaving a legacy. You want to be in control of your legacy at the end of the day. How things play out – I think that’s where I am in my career. I’m also playing to win another championship. That’s the reason I play this game. That’s the reason I’m here – to try and win a championship and nothing else.

Q: What can you do for a guy like Sammy Watkins? Talented guy, first round pick, just a few years in the league. When you look at a guy like that is there things you think you can do to help him?

A: Hopefully. Hopefully I can help him take his game to the next level. Honestly, that all depends on him. I can’t make anybody do anything, the only thing I can do is share my experiences and give him advice about different things that I’ve been through and different things that I’ve seen and experienced throughout my 15 years.

Q: What do you like about that part of the role that they brought you here for? The veteran leadership and helping some of those young guys. Obviously you came here to play, but they brought you here for veteran leadership. What do you like about that role, that part of it?

A: I think it’s a role that’s sometimes missing in this league. If you think about it, I didn’t have anybody in that position to help me out when I first came in the league. A lot of guys look at it as a younger guy is coming to take his job, he’s taking food off of his family’s table, that’s how I provide for my family so I’m not going to help this guy. But me, I see it in a different way. If I can help a guy be the best that he can be, I’m all for it because I feel like the better he is as my teammate, the better we’re going to be as a team. I’m all in as far as helping the guy get to that next level.

Q: I know you’re still getting to know Sean McDermott but what are your initial impressions with him?

A: Fiery guy, straightforward, man of his word, man of integrity – those are the things that I look for in a head coach. [Sean McDermott] says something, that’s what it is, a guy who’s going to shoot me straight, even if I don’t like it. That’s the kind of guy that he strikes me as.

Q: Does [Sean McDermott] remind you of any of the coaches that you’ve had in the past? Kind of the way he runs things.

A: I don’t to like to get in the comparison business too much because when you do that somebody gets shorted so I try and stay away from that.

Q: You said that this team is close. You’ve been on super bowl teams, but this team hasn’t been to the playoffs in 17 years. How do you know when something is right? When the team is moving in that right direction? I know it’s only been one day, but do you get any sense of that here?

A: I think when you get that sense of it, it’s not what you see on the field or in the game, I think it’s more the stuff that happens in the locker room or when you’re not on the field, when cameras aren’t around, when coaches even aren’t around. It’s the way that guys communicate, the kind of camaraderie that guys have amongst each other, the way that guys push each other – those are the things that probably the media can’t see because you’re not privy enough to those opportunities.

Q: I know it’s only one day of practice with him, but how much growth have you seen in Tyrod Taylor as a quarterback since his days in Baltimore?

A: [Tyrod Taylor]’s definitely light-years ahead of where he was when he was in Baltimore. He’s definitely more of a leader, his confidence is a lot higher. Not saying that he didn’t have it in Baltimore, but it wasn’t his show in Baltimore. This is his team and he’s taken that upon his shoulders.

Q: You’ve been so durable in your career, so available in your career, that’s one thing that this coaching staff really values. Of all the things that you’ve done, all the catches you’ve had, the yards…to do that, in this game, at that high a level, for that long, is that one of the things that you’re really proud of? That you’ve been able to be available for your team for so long?

A: Definitely. You can’t help your team if you aren’t on the field, so that’s something that you definitely have to look into. When I was younger, it’s something that I didn’t pay attention to. I just felt like I could roll out of bed and go perform, but the older you get, the more you have to pay attention to your body, the more you understand your body, what works and what doesn’t work. Hopefully that’s something I can help the younger guys with.

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