Familiarity with Detroit's coaching staff and a roster filled with "good young talent" are two of the big reasons veteran free-agent receiver Anquan Boldin chose to sign with the Detroit Lions this week over other suitors.
"I like the direction I feel this team is headed," Boldin said after his first practice with the team Friday. "Good young talent and guys that are hungry. Just watching the last eight games of the season last year, I felt like this team would be in a position to compete this year."
Boldin reunites with Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, who served as Boldin's offensive coordinator in Baltimore during the team's Super Bowl championship season in 2012-13. He also knows defensive coordinator Teryl Austin from their time in Arizona and Baltimore together.
A 13-year veteran, Boldin has amassed 1,009 receptions, 13,195 yards and 74 touchdowns over his career. He's one of just 13 receivers in league history to top the 1,000-reception mark.
The Lions wasted little time getting their new receiver acclimated to Jim Bob Cooter's offense during Friday's opening practice of training camp. Boldin played in the slot with the first-team offense while Golden Tate and Marvin Jones lined up on the outside. Quarterback Matthew Stafford found Boldin early and often over the middle of the field during practice.
"For a guy to be able to kind of jump right in and not really miss a beat, he was able to keep up with some of the difficult audibles and things of that nature," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Boldin.
Boldin won a Super Bowl in Baltimore, he's made three Pro Bowls, and he brings experience, toughness and leadership to the wide receiver position.
Even at 35 years old, Boldin led the San Francisco 49ers in receptions (69), receiving yards (789) and touchdowns (4) last year.
"I was always taught that nothing replaces hard work," he said. "I found that to be true, at least in my case. For me, I just try to outwork everybody. I just try and take care of my body.
"I've always been reliable throughout my career. Always been tough. Always been a guy that made those tough catches and not afraid to take a hit across the middle. Those are some of the things that I bring to the table."