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Grant Cohn: Anquan Boldin's intensity can carry 49ers, but not every week, not this week

  • Anquan Boldin adds clutch pass-catching qualities to the 49ers' roster. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / The Associated Press)

SANTA CLARA – Anquan Boldin is like a hero from an Elmore Leonard novel, a modern-day cowboy.

On Thursday he marched through the locker room from the shower to his locker, head high, eyes forward, and said hello to no one.

He's like a cowboy entering a saloon with the brim of his hat covering his eyes. He'd sit on a stool at the end of the bar. He wouldn't order a drink but the bartender would serve him whiskey anyway.

In the locker room, Boldin sat on a mini-stool in front of his locker and laid a folded towel on the floor under his bare feet. To his left, 10 offensive linemen were shooting the breeze. Boldin never acknowledged them. He leaned forward on his stool and stared at his feet.

They were wet. He took the corner of the towel and dried the skin between his toes. At this moment his universe extended to his toes and no farther.

Compare Boldin to Colin Kaepernick who walks through the locker room like the president, meeting with his constituents, smiling, laughing. Making sure everything is smooth.

Boldin is a loner who hardly smiles and doesn't talk when he doesn't have to. When you interview him, he stares at you blankly. He gives you no reaction while you ask a question, no look of encouragement or annoyance or understanding. Just a dead-fish stare revealing nothing. While you ask your question, you feel like you're pleading with a loan shark, “Please, can I give you the money tomorrow? I promise I'll have it tomorrow.” And he just stares at you.

He cocks his head to the right and leans toward you like he's trying to show you his soul through his eyes. Do you understand who I am? Do you understand who you're talking to?

He looks like death staring at you from the depths of his hooded cowl.

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