NEW ORLEANS - Kurt Warner still winces at the memory of the helmet-to-helmet shot that Anquan Boldin absorbed in a 2008 game against the New York Jets.
Then with the Arizona Cardinals, Boldin was attempting to grab a pass from Warner in the end zone when he was knocked unconscious in a nasty collision with Eric Smith.
"It was the most vicious hit I've ever seen, up close and personal," Warner recalled Tuesday. "It made me think about retirement."
Boldin missed only two weeks, a testament to his grit and fearlessness. But the 6-1, 220-pounder wants to be known as more than simply a tough receiver.
"I look it as, I'm a football player," Boldin said. "Not so much a receiver."
Boldin has been a key figure in Baltimore's charge to the Super Bowl. After leading the Ravens with 65 receptions and 921 yards receiving during the regular season, he's got 16 catches for 276 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs.
That's why stopping Boldin is a huge part of San Francisco's game plan.
"He's very determined to bring his team a championship," 49ers safety Donte Whitner said. "... We'll have our hands full with him."Flacco apologizes
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco apologized for his word selection in criticizing the NFL's decision to hold next year's Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium at a cold-weather site.
On Monday, Flacco was asked about the game being played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
"I think it's retarded. I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid," he said.
On Tuesday, he was contrite.
"Obviously, it was a poor choice of words," he said. "At home, I have a close relationship with Special Olympics. I didn't mean to offend anyone."