Former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin expects Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane to be disappointed with his decision to retire Sunday — only 13 days after telling McDermott he was “all-in” in signing with the Bills.
“I’m sure that they are [disappointed],” Boldin told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “I wouldn’t expect them to be anything less. But as [men], they respect it. They wished me nothing but the best, and I appreciate that.”
Boldin signed a one-year deal with a $1 million signing bonus on Aug. 7. It is unclear whether he will pay back the bonus or whether the team will ask for the money back.
In a statement to ESPN, Boldin said he retired to make “the larger fight for human rights a priority.” He added Monday that he was influenced by the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.
“For me, I’m uncomfortable with how divided we are as a country,” Boldin said.
Boldin believes he could still play in the NFL despite retiring before what would have been his 15th season. After signing with the Bills, he said his goal in continuing to play was to win the second championship of his career.
“That’s the reason I play this game,” Boldin said Aug. 8. “That’s the reason I’m here — to try and win a championship and nothing else.”
The Bills traded former No. 4 overall pick Sammy Watkins three days later, acquiring a 2018 second-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams. Without his top receiver, quarterback Tyrod Taylor struggled in a preseason loss Thursday to the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing two interceptions and posting a 12.0 quarterback rating.
After trading Watkins for a draft selection, Beane used Boldin’s signing as an example of why he felt the Bills were still able to win this season.
“Everybody’s forgetting we signed Anquan last week,” Beane said Aug. 11. “This is not a throw-in-the-towel thing at all.”
Boldin insisted Monday that neither the trade of Watkins nor Taylor’s struggles had an impact on his decision to retire.
“[It was about] what happened in Charlottesville, not what happened in Buffalo,” Boldin said. “For me, I didn’t come to Buffalo just to play with Sammy Watkins. I feel like we still had it on the offensive side of the ball, as well as the team overall, to get the job done.
“I think Tyrod is a fine quarterback, and I think he’ll be just great. I have all the confidence in the world in Tyrod. I played in this league for 14 years, and I don’t think [you can see] how a season is gonna go based off of one preseason game.”
Boldin said he felt a “certain obligation” to remain with his teammates this season, which made his retirement decision difficult.