Cardinals wide receivers Jerheme Urban (left) and Larry Fitzgerald (kneeling) tend to teammate Anquan Boldin after Boldin was injured Sunday.
Coming from Adrian Wilson, the compliment carried weight.
The Cardinals' safety knew some tough guys back home in High Point, North Carolina. He's a tough guy himself.
But Anquan Boldin, Wilson said, is the toughest person he knows. Only Wilson didn't say person – he used an expletive to emphasize his point.
A day after Boldin was left lying on the Giants Stadium turf having been crushed on a sandwich hit between Jets defenders Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith, Boldin's teammates were marveling at his ability to respond.
"He was already respected for how he plays the game," Wilson said. "For a guy to come out of that OK, the respect factor is times 10 from everybody in the locker room.
"Seeing him on the field, you realize how much he means to the offense, how much he means to the organization. All that talk about his contract and all that, hey, he put everything on the line."
Boldin was home Monday recuperating from his ordeal. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he didn't know right now if Boldin suffered a concussion, and Boldin's playing status remains on hold – although Whisenhunt wouldn't rule him out for Sunday either.
"I don't know if we can make any kind of judgment about that right now," Whisenhunt said.
Smith was suspended Monday by the NFL for one game and fined $50,000 for a "flagrant violation of player safety rules," the league announced in a press release. The release penalized Smith for hitting Boldin helmet-to-helmet while Boldin was in a defenseless position.
Boldin passed a series of spinal and neurological tests before leaving New York, and it was expected before Boldin even left the field he would be OK. All the tests were precautionary.
The private plane piloted by team president Michael Bidwill and carrying Boldin, Boldin's fiancée, Boldin's son and owner Bill Bidwill arrived back in Arizona a little before midnight Sunday, a few hours after the team charter landed in the Valley. Not only was Boldin walking around but he also was able to help care for his young son.
The situation changed quickly, because in the aftermath of the impact, Boldin's teammates were shaken.
"I was scared as hell at first," said receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who along with wideout Jerheme Urban was the first to get to a fallen Boldin. "He was unconscious when I first got over there. His eyes were every which way, his nose was bleeding, he was in an awkward position.
"You see guys get hurt on TV and it doesn't really hit home. But you see a brother, someone you've been with five years, practicing every day, you know his family, and it was terrible to see him in that position. I was relieved when he came to, he started talking. He could move his arms and legs. I breathed a sigh of relief but I was nervous – real nervous – at first."
Quarterback Kurt Warner was clearly bothered by the play immediately after the game and still looked affected Monday. Warner said he would leave Boldin alone Monday but that he might reach out to him Tuesday.
On a normal Sunday, Warner said, he'd be thinking about playing poorly against the Jets and losing a game on the road. After the Jets' game, all Warner could think about was Boldin's health.
"I just felt horrible being the one throwing the ball," Warner said.
Whisenhunt witnessed Boldin's toughness last season watching Boldin return to play with a fractured hip.
Boldin's reputation around the league for being tough will only be enhanced by his latest situation.
"The scariest thing is that he didn't get up right after, because you know the type of player Anquan is," wide receiver Steve Breaston said. "But now they say he's walking around and that's Anquan -- he's not going to stay down."
Whisenhunt said Wilson, who missed Sunday's game with a sore hamstring, will be re-evaluated this week.
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 9/29/08.