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October 25, 2013
Boldin back? Baalke sings praises of veteran wide receiver

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Anquan Boldin has caught the lion's share of the passes that have gone to 49ers wide receivers this year, and seven weeks into the season, he's the only 49ers wideout with a touchdown catch.

But he's only signed through this season.

Asked today whether he'd like to extend Boldin, a 11-year veteran, Trent Baalke said those issues would be dealt with at season's end. But he left no doubt what Boldin has meant to the team this year and what he could provide for the future.

"There is no better pro, in my opinion, than Anquan," Baalke said during a 2 1/2-hour sit-down with reporters this morning at a London hotel. "He is the consummate professional. He's a leader, he's a mentor. He's a great family man. He is a class act."

The 49ers traded for Boldin, 33, in the offseason with the thought he'd pair well with their No. 1 wideout, Michael Crabtree. That still might happen later this year, but that duo only likely will be together for December and any playoff games the 49ers might have if Boldin departs via free agency.

Four other wideouts -- Mario Manningham, Marlon Moore, Kyle Williams and Kassim Osgood -- also will see their contracts expire at the end of the league year. Crabtree and Jon Baldwin are signed through 2014. Rookie Quinton Patton is signed through 2016. Which means the 49ers are likely to draft a wide receiver, perhaps early, in the spring.

Baalke stopped short of revealing his plans. But he acknowledged the merits of having someone like Boldin in both the locker room and wide-receiver room to mentor young players. "Certainly having a receiver like Anquan is a very big positive," he said.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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