Chargers' Boston an enigma Ravens nearly acquired

In a swirl of biceps, bank statements and body piercings, David Boston might represent the ultimate football enigma. The San Diego Chargers' sculpted wide receiver continually straddles the line between bust and bonanza. He's gigantic for a wide receiver and has sprinter's speed.

His body is practically a walking advertisement for GNC with a physique that resembles an anatomy chart. Boston routinely deflects probing questions about whether he uses steroids. Boston is obsessed with body-building, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on intravenous drips to replenish his body after workouts.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound former Arizona Cardinals' Pro Bowl wide receiver takes nearly 100 pills a day. He has a habit of striking poses in front of mirrors in the Chargers' locker room.

Boston favors five different shades of color contacts, including red and yellow. That's another fashion accessory to go along with his growing collection of piercings, including his chest, eyebrow and tongue.

The Texas native also carries a reputation for off-field trouble. He entered a no-contest plea to driving under the influence after Phoenix police alleged that he tested positive for marijuana and cocaine after a traffic stop. Despite all of the excess baggage, the Baltimore Ravens wanted to sign Boston. He cancelled a scheduled visit to their training complex, though, before signing a contract worth up to $47 million.

Boston is listed as questionable for Sunday's contest against Baltimore with a bruised heel. "We had some sincere interest in David," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We felt like he was a young player that was ascending. We felt like if we could get him into our environment that we could help him become the player he wanted to be. Obviously dealing with free agency, sometimes they don't make it to your building."

Boston has practiced this week without setback. The former Ohio State star led the league in receiving yardage two years ago with 98 receptions for 1,598 yards and eight touchdowns. Boston missed week's loss to the Denver Broncos, leaving the game after it ended without listening to Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer's post-game summation.

"I don't think I'm mysterious," Boston told reporters in San Diego this week. "I do a lot of things different than a lot of people. Any time you do things different, I think there will be a lot of questions."

It's because of Boston's immense talent that the Ravens were willing to offer him a contract last spring reportedly worth $36 million over six years.

Ultimately, Boston cancelled a scheduled trip to Baltimore once he visited the Chargers, signing a contract with a lot of upfront money that offers the San Diego organization little protection in case of injury or behavior problems arise.

"We had a contract that was maybe equal in value, but the money wasn't as guaranteed as it was from San Diego's standpoint," Newsome said. Cardinals defensive line coach Joe Greene, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle, once said that Boston could have the world by its tail if he lives to see age 30.

The young man with all those muscles has five years to go.

Ravens veteran cornerback Corey Fuller said Boston would have fit in with Baltimore. "I know he's a competitor who puts a lot into his profession and body," Fuller said. "I think this would have been a lovely situation for him. I don't think he's a bad guy."

As for leaving the Chargers' facility early last week, Schottenheimer said it was a simple misunderstanding. "He didn't enter the locker room after the game," the coach said. "He didn't understand that he needed to be there and I've discussed it. I had not specifically indicated to him that he needed to be there. He is fine."

The Cardinals said they had deep concerns about Boston's personal issues. Yet, no one questions Boston's talent, just his durability and idiosyncratic methods. "Phenomenal player," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "When he's on the field, he's an impact player. Anybody who plays the Chargers in the future will have to account for him."

Newsome dismissed the notion that this gifted receiver isn't working out in San Diego. "It's really premature to sit here and even think we're lucky that we didn't get David Boston," Newsome said. "No way. I don't think I'm that good or my peers are that good to determine that based on what he has done in two weeks."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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