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Vet Anquan Boldin understands what it takes to win on biggest stage

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin and

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin and quarterback Colin Kaepernick celebrate after Boldin caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of a game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField. (Nov. 25, 2013) Credit: Getty

SEATTLE - A man helps his team win the Super Bowl and then, because of salary-cap restrictions, is told to take a $2-million pay cut.

Not surprisingly, Anquan Boldin refuses.

So Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh trades the wide receiver to the San Francisco 49ers (coached by his brother Jim), the team the Ravens beat in Super Bowl XLVII last February. Boldin caught six passes for 104 yards and a touchdown in that game.

Should the 49ers defeat the favored Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Boldin will have the opportunity to play in a third Super Bowl for a third different team in six seasons, including the Arizona Cardinals in February 2009.

"I think I fell in the perfect situation," said Boldin, 33.

As did the 49ers, who much of the year were without receiver Michael Crabtree, recovering from a Achilles tendon tear suffered in May.

"My brother told me about him," Jim Harbaugh said of Boldin. "He's exceeded expectations."

That's Boldin's NFL career in brief. His quarterback with the Cardinals, Kurt Warner, said teams tend to look at Boldin's physical skills and dismiss them.

"But," Warner told the Los Angeles Times, "that guy's such a difference-maker."

And a head-knocker. In the 49ers' chippy divisional win over Carolina last Sunday, Boldin intentionally put his face mask into that of a defensive back, and on Friday, he was fined $7,875 for a head butt.

"That's just my personality,'' said Boldin, who was a defensive back in high school. "It's always been the way I played the game. If you don't play all out, you're cheating yourself.

"You play hard and don't worry about penalties. If it's called, it's holding. If not, it's not holding. It's up to us to play football and let the refs do what they do."

What Boldin did against the Panthers, other than banging face masks, was make eight catches -- seven for first downs -- for 136 yards.

"He's just a valuable, valuable player in all regards," Jim Harbaugh said. "Any young receiver would be impressed the way he practices and plays."

Boldin insists there's a difference between the regular season and postseason. "You have to pay attention to the little things in the playoffs," he said. "Some guys don't. You've got to protect the ball, definitely, because one possession can cost you the game."

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