With the pending retirement of Doug Baldwin hanging in the air, I think it is necessary to give Baldwin respect and admiration for what he has done up to this point in his career. If his career is over, he has been one of the most influential Seahawks on and off the field.
This article will explain why Doug is truly an incredible man.
When summarizing most NFL players careers. it is easy to start with their on-field accolades. For Doug, we will start with his charitable work off the field.
He has been involved in a number of different causes for the betterment of communities in the greater Seattle Area. First off, he is helping to finance a community center in the City of Renton. This project started when he and Richard Sherman frequented a Teriyaki shop in the area. Baldwin noticed that many kids hung around this spot because they had nowhere else to go.
For those unfamiliar with the Seattle area, Renton is located approximately 12 miles southeast of Seattle. This city is a mixed bag, some areas of the city are more desirable than others. There are some parts of Renton that may be considered undesirable.
He noticed this and wanted to help out the community. He talked to different people living in the area and came to the conclusion that a community center would be the best way to help the youth.
In his own childhood, he had a special connection to a place called the Southern Youth Sports Association. He said, “it helped him become the man I am today.”
The staff at SYSA kept him focused on his goal of making the NFL. They kept him leveled when he got cocky. He hopes that a center in Renton will provide the same encouragement for kids that he received as a youngster in Florida.
He also played a role in the passing of initiative I-940.
This act is designed to provide de-escalation training to law enforcement officials across the state. It specifies that it wants to teach officers how to deal with people struggling from mental health issues, and disabilities. It also provides a rule that the police must provide first aid in the occurrence of a worst-case scenario.
He addressed the Washington State Legislature and testified in front of the Joint House Public Safety Committee in support of this initiative.
Many people in Seattle believe that this act is a step toward reducing tragedies in the region. On the other hand, some law enforcement officials believe that this initiative is not an effective way to reduce violence. I-940 passed with 60 percent of the state vote.
I am not here to say whether this initiative is right or wrong, but this is just another example of him standing up for what he believes in. It is also important to note that his own father was a police officer for over 30 years.
He has also done other things to help different charities such as speaking at a charity breakfast to support homeless families, getting roasted for charity (Like the comedy central roasts), he was even nominated for the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Award.
Now let’s get to the gridiron.
He was an undrafted player out of the University of Stanford. He was that guy who was never supposed to make it. Few people outside of the Seattle Seahawks organization knew who he was. When he was officially signed by the Hawks there was no hype, no press conference and no love, it was just another low-key offseason move.
Nevertheless, this didn’t affect his play on the field. He had an immediate impact as a wideout, and a special teams player. In his first year in Seattle, he led the team in receiving yards. He was the first undrafted rookie receiver to accomplish this feat since 1960.
He also did this with Tarvaris Jackson as his quarterback, not Russell Wilson. Sorry, T-Jack.
But he didn’t stop there. He also had a kick return for a touchdown and blocked a punt that led to a Seahawks touchdown.
As his career progressed and the Hawks drafted Wilson, Baldwin continued to flourish as a player. Before we get into statistics and some highlights throughout his career, let’s focus on the fact that he was a complete football player.
First off, he is a phenomenal blocker. This aspect often gets overlooked when analyzing receivers skill sets. A key block by a receiver can be the difference between an 8-yard run and an 80-yard touchdown dash. When the edge is sealed the possibility for a big play increases tenfold. The majority of the time he is blocking to the best of his ability.
Another crucial aspect of his game is his amazing footwork. This man breaks ankles.
He is not the fastest, strongest, or most athletic receiver, but he has those quick feet. There are plays where he is seemingly wide open and it is all because of his footwork at the line of scrimmage.
This is a testament to his work ethic. Footwork is not a skill that athletes are inherently born with. This trait is developed by hours and hours of practice and teeth-grinding monotonous repetition. He works on his craft and it proves pivotal in key moments for the Hawks.
Which brings me to my next point: He is about as clutch as they come in third-down situations. On third down, Wilson is looking to pass the ball to him; just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a game in 2015, he caught a quick slant-type route and took it 80 yards to the house. This play helped to secure a victory for the Hawks with playoff implications on the line.
Somehow it’s always him who comes up with these big catches.
Another one of these plays came against the Miami Dolphins in a 2016 matchup. With the game hanging in the balance he broke open and made a catch on 4th and 4. If this play had not been made, Seattle would have lost. Just to top if off, he also caught the game-winning touchdown later that drive to give the Seahawks the W.
There was also a streak where he caught 11 TDs in a four-game span; this occurrence happened in the 2015 season.
This tied a record for the most TD passes between a quarterback and receiver combination in a four-game period. The record is shared with Brett Favre and Sterling Sharpe.
It’s also important to note that Doug caught a TD pass in the Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos. Even though the game was already out of reach, a TD in the Super Bowl is still a TD in the Super Bowl.
He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, he has two seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards, and in 2015 he led the NFL with 14 touchdowns.
Doug has been a great player on the field and a better man off of it. His impact on the community will long outlast his playing days. If this is the end of his NFL career, cheers to a job well done.