But instead of celebrating the accomplishment, the Ravens found themselves lamenting the loss of one of their dominant performers from their playoff run.
Veteran wide receiver
The move, motivated by the team's desire to open open up some room under the salary cap, became a necessity after the 32-year-old balked at a $2 million pay cut late last week. But the cost of the trade was the loss of one of the Ravens' toughest and most clutch performers.
"Anquan was a great receiver for myself, for our football team, for this whole organization. It's sad to see a guy like that go but at the same time, you want what's best for him and you just wish him the best of luck," said Ravens quarterback
Flacco, who credited Boldin for helping him get his long-awaited contract extension, spent some time with Boldin in Arizona over the weekend at former
"You see things like this happen every year in the NFL. It's just the nature of the business. It almost becomes just one of those things that you got to react to and take in stride," said Flacco who was asked what the team loses with Boldin gone. "You lose a lot of things. You lose a leader, you lose that fire and most of all and most importantly, you lose a very good player and a guy who has done it over and over again."
In the postseason, Boldin had 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns, elevating his game from the regular season when he caught 65 balls for 921 yards and four touchdowns. But his teammates said that Boldin's contributions went well beyond the numbers. He brought a toughness to the Ravens' offense and he was one of the leaders in the locker room.
"We learned a lot of routes from him, how he thinks, what he sees. He passed that on to us and he did what he had to do," said fellow wide receiver
The trade seemed to hit wide receiver
Surrounded by reporters, Smith chose his words more carefully Monday night and initially deflected questions about the trade. But he did eventually expand some and talk about how much he'd miss Boldin, saying of the trade: "It's definitely shock."