New faces, new places marks start of NFL season

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“He’s a guy that’s really intellectual when it comes to football,” fellow wide receiver Brian Hartline said. “Probably doesn’t get a whole lot of credit for it, but he really understands the game, wants to learn more about the game and like I said, has a rare skill set.”

Sounds like many of the same qualities Boldin has brought to San Francisco.

The 49ers acquired him from the Ravens for a sixth-round pick, and he’s helped them overcome the loss of Michael Crabtree to a torn Achilles tendon. Boldin was shut down last week by Seattle, but had 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in a Week 1 win over the Packers.

“It’s my job to catch the ball. And anytime (Kaepernick) throws the ball my way, I’m going to make sure to catch it,” Boldin said. “For me, it’s a business. I come out to do my job.”

Wallace and Boldin weren’t the only high-profile wide receivers who found new digs. Welker spent six seasons in New England before signing with Denver this past offseason.

Strange as it is to see Walker in a new uniform, though, it may be stranger to see Jackson wearing Falcons threads. The veteran running back had eight straight 1,000-yard seasons for the Rams, and is now trying to help Matt Ryan and Co. pursue an elusive Super Bowl.

“He adds an incredible amount of leadership to this football team,” Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said, “and his combination of on and off the field abilities and passion for this game is right in line with how we feel we build this football team and have built this football team the last few years. In our minds we couldn’t have a more ideal fit right now.”

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AP Sports Writers Charles Odum in Atlanta, David Ginsburg in Baltimore, Steven Wine in Miami, Janie McCauley in San Francisco and Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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