Former Boise State and Capital High wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn became known to a nation of NFL fans as “Amsterdam” over the past month on the HBO show “Hard Knocks.”
The show followed the Atlanta Falcons in training camp and quickly zeroed in on Boldewijn — an undrafted free agent who moved to Boise from Amsterdam for his senior year of high school to play football.
Boldewijn appeared on the verge of making the Falcons roster when he went down with a right hamstring injury in practice Aug. 26. He was given an injury settlement and cut because the Falcons didn’t want to carry an injured player on their 53-man active roster.
The injury forced Boldewijn to miss the last preseason game.
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“I have mixed emotions,” Boldewijn told the Idaho Statesman. “I did pretty good to that point but then that was my first game I actually ever missed because of an injury. It just kind of sucked.”
Boldewijn is working out in California and preparing for another run at the NFL when he’s healthy. The hamstring strain is only supposed to take two weeks to heal, he said. He can sign with an NFL team at that point. But because of the injury settlement, he can’t sign with the Falcons until week eight, he said.
“I have no idea how the league works, but I keep telling myself that everything will be all right,” Boldewijn said. “I can’t control that from this point. The only thing I can control is getting healthy and, when the opportunity presents itself, being able to give 100 percent. I’m just trying to get some good work in and make sure I’m ready to go when I get that phone call.”
The Falcons expressed enthusiasm about Boldewijn’s potential throughout the five-episode run of “Hard Knocks.” The moment when coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff cut him made Tuesday’s season finale.
“It’s been really fun to watch you develop as a football player from where you started to where you are now and where you potentially can go,” Smith told him. “ Your injury, it kind of limits the options we have.”
Added Dimitroff: “We’ll be watching you closely and keeping track of when you are available.”
Kevin Winston, the senior director of player affairs, also spoke to Boldewijn.
“This is nothing but a pause,” he told him. “Most importantly, you know you can play in this league — at a high level.”
Replied Boldewijn: “I don’t look at this as the end. I came from a long way. I still think I have a long way to go. It’s a lost opportunity, of course, so it’s never good, but it happened.”
Boldewijn — intriguing to NFL scouts because of his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame and terrific speed —is in his seventh year of American football. He made 39 catches for 528 yards and two touchdowns last season at Boise State.
He made four catches for 59 yards in the preseason for the Falcons. He also got some quality time with starting quarterback Matt Ryan, catching three touchdown passes in a joint practice with the Houston Texans.
“To me, it felt like I was playing maybe my best football out there,” Boldewijn said of training camp. “I felt like I took my game to the next level.”
Other quotes from Boldewijn:
— On the show: “It was pretty cool. It was just a new experience. Before the NFL, I used to watch all those kinds of shows with the players miked up. It was kind of funny now because I was the one miked up out there.”
— In one episode, he was shown having a phone conversation in Dutch. He was talking to former Boise State teammate Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, also from Amsterdam. Tjong-A-Tjoe went to camp with the San Diego Chargers but is out for the year with a knee injury.
— On playing with Roddy White and Julio Jones: “It just helped me mature. Just watching those guys do what they do off the field in order to take care of their body, in order to be out there fresh, just being like a real professional.”
— On the NFL: “Everyone wants to go to the NFL and play in front of a lot of people. All I want to do is play football. I knew there was a business aspect of it. Just being in the middle of it, I never realized how big of a business it really is. There’s so much stuff that I feel like I didn’t know.”
— On possibly rejoining the Falcons: “It sounded like they were really interested. I felt like we just kind of clicked out there.”
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