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Boldin late to Cardinals camp after helping teammates who had car trouble

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Disgruntled wide receiver Anquan Boldin has reported for training camp with the Arizona Cardinals, a little late only because he turned around to help a couple of teammates who had car trouble.

Boldin declined to talk to reporters Wednesday after checking in at the Northern Arizona University dorms with the reigning NFC champions.

Catching up with Coach Whiz

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt recently stopped by the offices to discuss Anquan Boldin's future with the team and what he thinks of rookie Beanie Wells.  **More ...**

Upset because he has yet to receive a new contract, Boldin sat out minicamp with what he said was a sore hamstring, then didn't participate in the voluntary summer workouts.

First-round draft pick Beanie Wells was a no-show. The running back from Ohio State is the only Cardinals' pick from this year's draft class yet to reach a contract agreement. Wells also missed the voluntary workouts because of an NFL rule that prohibited his participation because his college session hadn't ended.

"There haven't been a whole lot of first-rounders that have signed," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We're coming in a couple of days earlier than most guys so maybe it will speed up over the next day or two."

According to Whisenhunt, Boldin was on his way up Interstate 17 from Phoenix when he turned around to retrieve wide receiver Early Doucet and linebacker Ali Highsmith, two teammates stranded because of car trouble.

"So I guess we're expecting an Early arrival a little later," Whisenhunt said jokingly.

Boldin didn't talk upon arrival a year ago, either, but he turned loose on the team's management the next day, saying he'd been lied to and that he'd never re-sign with the Cardinals.

Boldin sought a trade, but it didn't happen, and the Cardinals still insist they want to re-sign him. They just want to wait awhile because he has two years left on his contract.

Boldin wasn't talking, but his chief advocate on the team -- quarterback Kurt Warner -- emphasized how important it is to have the receiver in camp.

"I think it means everything to our team, that he's such a leader," Warner said. "So much of what this team does and how this team goes stems from who he is and what he brings to the table, and his leadership and his toughness and all those things."

Warner said he's not surprised that Boldin reported to camp.

"It's obviously huge for us to know that just like always he's going to be a pro," Warner said. "Even though he might not be happy with certain situations outside of playing the game, we know when he steps on that football team and he steps in that locker room, we're going to get Q and we're going to get everything that entails."

Warner said he's glad to speak out on Boldin's behalf, saying the receiver deserves to be compensated for what he means to the franchise.

"You just speak the way you feel," Warner said. "I just think he's too important to what we've done and to this whole building process that somebody's got to be talking about that and somebody's got to be sharing how important he is to this whole thing. So if he's not going to do it, I'm going to stand up and do it for him because I think it needs to be said."

The Cardinals handed out their NFC title rings at a gathering in Phoenix on Tuesday night.

The team has its fitness run Thursday, then practice begins Friday.

Understandably, bigger crowds are expected to watch those workouts.

"What's real exciting is you're coming up the highway and you see those signs that say, '2008 NFC Champions,'" Whisenhunt said. "Now that's a little different for us. It kind of makes you understand what we did last season and what's ahead of us this year."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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