Anquan Boldin says he decided to retire from football in order to focus on his mission of helping people.
"For me, it's always been my life's mission to help people in a number different ways whether it be in this country or this countries," Boldin said in an interview that will air on NFL Total Access at 7 p.m. ET Monday. "But for the last couple of years I've been advocating for criminal justice reform. I've been trying to improve police-community relations across the board. I think where we are as a country now, it breaks my heart to see how divided we are and I don't think it should be that way."
Boldin said NFL players protesting during the national anthem is a response to many of the problems affecting people in the United States.
"Right now, I think it's something that guys are crying out. Guys are actually saying, 'we need help,' Boldin said. "And I think people around the NFL, people around our nation, need to take notice. This is not a new thing that has happened. This is not the first time athletes have swept to the forefront and carried this torch. This has been going on before we were born. And we're just part of that group that is carrying that torch. So, I think it is something people really need to pay attention to."
Although Boldin is dedicated to focusing his attention to social issues and playing a leadership role for communities in need, the 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner had plenty of proud moments during his career. One of the greatest possession receivers in NFL history, Boldin ranks 14th all-time in receiving yards with 13,779 on 1,076 receptions with 82 touchdowns.
"The high points ... that would be being drafted," Boldin said. "Turning the Arizona Cardinals' franchise around from one of the worst in the league to probably one of the better teams in the league; actually playing in a Super Bowl in my time out in Arizona. So seeing that transformation was definitely a high point. Winning the Super Bowl in Baltimore was a high point as well."
As for whether he'll ever get the call from Canton, Boldin is keeping things open-minded about his Pro Football Hall of Fame chances moving forward.
"If I do, great, if I don't, oh well," Boldin said. "I left everything that I had on the football field. I think that everybody I played with, everybody I played against would say the same thing."