Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

USFL Revived Victor Bolden Jr.'s Career, Now He Hopes To Stick With Cardinals

Wide receiver just wants to remain in NFL

Cardinals wide receiver Victor Bolden breaks open for a pass during a practice against the Titans on Wednesday.
Cardinals wide receiver Victor Bolden breaks open for a pass during a practice against the Titans on Wednesday.

With opportunity fading, Victor Bolden nearly hung up his cleats.

He was about to turn 27. He had a family to support. And his time in the NFL hadn't gone as expected.

"It was close for sure," the Cardinals wide receiver said about potentially walking away. "I have a young son, and it was time to start providing for him. I was considering it, but I knew good things would happen if I continued to do what I do and stayed with it."

His love for the game was still there. So he gave the USFL a try, and found himself on the Birmingham Stallions. He won a title after a good season, collected the offensive MVP trophy in the championship game, and most importantly, created an avenue to get back into the NFL -- the league he never wanted to leave.

"It's been a process to get here," Bolden said, "but I'm thankful to have the opportunity to come back to the NFL and show what I can do."

The Cardinals close out the preseason in Tennessee Saturday night. Final roster reduction must be complete by Tuesday. Bolden has had a good camp, although he came to a team with a stuffed wide receivers room. The fight to stay in the NFL hasn't ended.

Before the USFL, Bolden had joined the list of one-percenters to make the league but lacked the playing time and production to show he belonged. The good thing is while Bolden didn't impress stat-wise as a pass catcher, he added value on special teams.

Five years ago, after leaving Oregon State, the undrafted wide receiver signed with the 49ers in 2017 and joined the Bills the following season before spending two seasons on the Lions' practice squad.

Bolden had just one reception for 10 yards and returned 24 kickoffs for 512 yards (21.3 avg) and four punt returns for 23 yards. It wasn't enough.

The Stallions and USFL tossed him a football lifeline.

Bolden led the league with 1,209 all-purpose yards during the regular season (618 kick return yards, 415 receiving yards on 42 catches, and 176 punt return yards). He was named all-USFL both on offense and special teams.In the championship game, Bolden finished with 64 yards on six receptions, including the go-ahead touchdown catch.

The Cardinals were among several teams to become interested and eventually offered a tryout. Bolden signed after the workout went well.

"I wanted to go there (the USFL) and win a championship with those guys and get back to the NFL," Bolden said. "My goal was always to get back here."

Bolden just completed his fifth training camp and said the latter was no different than his previous experiences. It's what Bolden leaned on to push through the training camp grind and make plays.

Kliff Kingsbury said Bolden is everything the team expected since he arrived in the desert.

"He has dynamic speed and played well in that league, made a bunch of plays," the head coach said. "For the short time he's been here, he's picked up the system and competed at a high level. He's done a nice job."

Unfortunately, the Cardinals' wide receiver room is deep with talent and depth: DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, A.J. Green, and Antoine Wesley. Greg Dortch and Andy Isabella are also vying for spots on the depth chart.

Bolden faces a steep uphill battle to make the final roster, but he's not worried about upcoming cuts. He's back where he feels he belongs. Now it's about making his case to stay (this time) in Arizona or elsewhere.

"I think about coming out here every day and putting out the best product I can put out," Bolden said. "Whatever happens at the end is going to happen. I'm taking it day by day."