NFC notebook

Cardinals not closing book on Boldin

Associated Press / January 16, 2009
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The Arizona Cardinals, who face the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday's NFC Championship game, haven't given up on keeping Anquan Boldin for the long haul.

"We'll sit down at some point after the season and address his situation," general manager Rod Graves told the East Valley Tribune of Tempe, Ariz.

The Cardinals offered Boldin a deal last year believed to be worth about half of fellow receiver Larry Fitzgerald's four-year, $40 million deal (with $30 million guaranteed), but Boldin rejected it.

Boldin and his agent at various times have said he wants to play out his contract, which has two more years to run, and leave the Cardinals or be traded.

In light of those statements, Graves was uncertain of the prospects of being able to retain Boldin.

"At this point, we haven't had any communication with them," said Graves. "I don't know how adamant he's feeling at this point. All I know is he's a great competitor. We recognize him as a core player for us and important in terms of our success."

Any deal with Boldin would be done "within the framework of keeping our team strong," Graves said.

One and done?
Edgerrin James could be playing his last game for the Cardinals Sunday. The 30-year-old running back, in his 10th NFL season, said two weeks ago he believes he and the team will part by mutual agreement after the season.

The man who ranks 11th on the career rushing list was benched halfway through the season in favor of rookie Tim Hightower. But it didn't do much to help Arizona's woeful ground game. The Cardinals finished last in the league in rushing.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt brought James back in the regular-season finale against Seattle. James rushed for 100 yards that day and has been solid, if not spectacular, since.

Whisenhunt said switching to Hightower gave the team the best chance to win. He said that the team would need James somewhere down the road. James wasn't sure that was true.

"I just sat there and waited," he said. "I didn't know when I was getting in the game. I just made sure I went out and continued to practice and do what I've always done and not let whatever is going on take you from the type of player or person you are."

Winners on and off field
Brian Dawkins of the Eagles and Kurt Warner of the Cardinals are finalists for NFL Man of the Year. Vikings center Matt Birk is also a finalist for the award, named for late Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, which goes to the player who combines on-field excellence with off-the-field community service. The winner will be announced before the Super Bowl Feb. 1. Warner, who at 37 quarterbacked the Cardinals to their first championship game in 60 years, created a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to sponsor construction throughout the Midwest. He has raised more than $450,000, including a $100,000 personal contribution, $100,000 from his foundation, and $100,000 each from the Cardinals and the NFL Disaster Relief Fund. Dawkins, the Eagles' six-time Pro Bowl safety, was selected 2008 Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association. He contributed $10,000 to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the names of his twin daughters, who faced complications from a premature birth . . . Russ Craft, a member of the Eagles' 1948 and '49 NFL championship teams who shares the league record of four interceptions in a game, died Tuesday. He was 89. Craft was a defensive back and halfback with the Eagles from 1946-53 and the Steelers from 1953-55. The two-time Pro Bowl selection had 22 career interceptions, including four in a game against the Chicago Cardinals in September 1950. He shares the record with 17 players.

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