SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh had an inkling of how good wide receiver Anquan Boldin would be based on watching Boldin play in recent years, particularly against the 49ers in the Super Bowl last season.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim's older brother, reinforced Jim Harbaugh's perception of Boldin in a phone call before the Ravens traded Boldin to the 49ers.

"My brother told me exactly how he would be," Jim Harbaugh said Thursday. "Sometimes, it always sounds too good to be true. But this was a case where it really was that good."

Boldin has exceeded Harbaugh's expectations, he said, even though Harbaugh felt as if he had a pretty good read on Boldin.

San Francisco 49ers’ Anquan Boldin (81) makes a 45 yard catch against Carolina Panthers’ Captain Munnerlyn (41) in the third quarter of their
San Francisco 49ers' Anquan Boldin (81) makes a 45 yard catch against Carolina Panthers' Captain Munnerlyn (41) in the third quarter of their NFC divisional playoff NFL game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

Now that Harbaugh has spent most of a season around Boldin, watching Boldin at practice every day, in the meeting room, mentoring younger players, setting an example, he has a greater appreciation for just how much Boldin brings to the mix.

"Any young player that looks at Anquan Boldin and watches the way he practices, the way he plays, the way he approaches the pre-practice warm-up ... would be impressed," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said it's not uncommon for him to have to plead with Boldin to let other receivers take reps in practice.

"You got to pull him out of a rep situation sometimes," Harbaugh said. "So any young receiver that's watching that, any young football player, any coach, would (think), 'That's the way I should practice or approach every day.' "


Advertisement

Boldin led the 49ers in receiving this season with 85 receptions for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 11 catches for 174 yards in playoff wins over the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.