Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin participated in his second consecutive practice Wednesday after missing the last two games due to an MCL injury he suffered in the teams season opening loss at Denver on September 9th.
Baldwin met with the media on Thursday and discussed the up and downs of his injuries.
(On how it felt to return to practice)
“I’m still a little frustrated because I feel like I’m still being held back a little bit. I understand why, the precautionary reasons. I’m chomping at the bit. I’m ready to go. This is what I do, so I’m excited about getting back out there.”
(On his emotional state after sustaining injuries to both knees)
“I would like to think that my growth over the years has allowed me to dive into more of my identity as a human being more so than just a football player. At the end of the day, I’ve been playing this sport for 23 years.
A lot of my value that has been created over the course of those years as a human being has been wrapped up in football. Although I’m still working towards getting away from that unhealthy connection, it’s still there. Not being able to play and demonstrate my athleticism as a football player does come with its emotional issues.”
(On how he will balance his hard work-ethic and injuries as his career continues to progress)
“That’s an internal battle. I think because the NFL, in general, is a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ business. You constantly feel like you have to prove yourself. There’s a pressure to prove yourself every day, whether it’s on the football field or off the football field in the classroom, there’s a constant pressure there. It is finding a balance. Also, the desire just to want to be out there with the guys.
When you’re out for so long, you kind of feel disconnected. You feel like the train is moving on without you. Just being the competitor that I am, I’m fighting every inch, scratching to get back to that point where the guys can trust me, they know me, and we’re out there having fun.”
(On the last time he’s missed this much time due to injuries)
“I’ve never sat out this long. I haven’t missed games since my second year in the NFL. It’s been a very long time since I had to overcome the injury obstacle. Of course, I’ve dealt with injuries throughout the course of those games that I’ve played, but nothing to the significance of where I had to miss time.”
(On what it’s been like during games in his head)
“It’s very frustrating. The thing that I’ve been able to really focus on as I’m off the field is really focus on my empathetic nature with the other players, especially the other receivers. Just talking through the game-plan with them, talking through the situations with them, talking through what‘s happening play-by-play with them when they come off of the field.
A lot of my energy and resources are spent on being empathetic for them so I can give them something back to help them throughout the course of the game. Sometimes it shows itself in a number of ways.”
(On the passion that cameras caught him showing on the sidelines in week three)
“It was empathy. It’s what it was. I won’t go into a great deal of detail, but essentially, it’s frustrating when you start 0-2 and you start the way we’ve started. We’ve had some frustrating games, especially as a receiving corps. Being here for so long and knowing the process, knowing what you guys (the media) are going to say, the questions that come up in our (receivers) room, and how that plays a role in just the emotional stability of the receivers.
And then just other things that come along with that. When they come off the field and they’re telling me how they feeling and they’re expressing their emotions. Myself, trying to be empathetic to them in that regard, there’s a lot of energy there. On top of the fact that I’m not able to go out there and help them out. On top of the fact that there’s history, there’s a lot there. I think that that was just an exertion of energy that Trent (Kirchner) just happened to be in the area at the time, unfortunately.
During the moment I came back to him and said, ‘Look, man, I’m sorry. I just had to get that out.’ He was like, ‘I get it, I get it.’ He knows, he understands, so we had a good conversation about it. That’s my guy though.”
(On if the decision to play on Sunday will be his to make)
“I don’t know. I know Pete (Carroll) has a press conference coming up soon or eventually. You’ll have to ask him. I‘m ready to go. Again, that’s going to be their call. There’s a lot of things that go into it.
Obviously, the precautionary reasons of making sure that I’m healthy fully so that I can go for the rest of the season and not just this game. I get that, but as a competitor and as somebody who hasn’t missed games that often who had an 89-game streak, I feel like I know my body pretty well. I feel like I’m ready to go.”
(On if he felt like he has been ready before this week)
“No. I mean it’s a process. Knowing that I have a lot of mileage on my legs, knowing that I’m not 25 years-old anymore. I take all that context into account when I’m making my decisions as well. The process of getting my body to this point has been a long process, but I know where I’m at. I have to tell Pete (Carroll) and anybody who asks me how confident I am, but that’s just the truth.
I think all of you all know when I come up here, you’re not going to get B.S. from me, I’m going to be honest with you. I said the same thing to Pete and anybody else that ask me about my health. I’m ready to go, so we’ll see what happens. I think that we have a good plan in place and I’m willing to go with that, so we’ll see what happens.”
(On what he thinks the offense has been lacking in the past few weeks)
“My ego would like to say a number of different things, but I’ll hold that back for now. I think that overall it’s just the uniqueness of the situation. We have a lot of young guys, a lot of new guys to our system. Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) being a new offensive coordinator here in Seattle, we’re getting used to it.
It’s going to take time. I know there was a lot of frustration in the first two games and rightfully so. I think it just takes time. As you’ve seen the last game, we made a huge step and I think that we will continue to progress and get better as the year goes along.”
(On if his other knee has had a chance to get better) “It’s better.”
(On why he returned in week one after sustaining the knee injury)
“I’m a savage (laughs). No, but, I have to give myself motivating talk like that every once in a while, to make sure that I remembered who I am. In that moment, it was one of those situations where it was like, ‘Okay Doug, it’s messed up, we know it’s messed up, but let’s see what you can really do.
’ I knew it was a serious injury, but being out for so long prior to that game, I wanted to do everything I could do to go back in. I realized that it wasn’t getting better, so I had to pull myself, unfortunately. It’s the nature of the business, but the reasoning for going back out there was really the competitive nature in my mind.”
(On if was encouraging seeing Eric Reid sign with the Carolina Panthers)
“Absolutely, absolutely. For any guys in the league who are looking for jobs, it’s always encouraging when they do get a job because there’s so few of them. When guys across the league get jobs, it’s always a good thing.
Especially Eric (Reid), obviously with all the controversy that’s going around with taking a knee or whatever or demonstrating. I thought it was something in the positive direction for sure.”
(On if he’s surprised to see Eric Reid get a job this year)
“I wouldn’t say surprised. I’m surprised it took this long if I’m being quite honest. He’s been a very productive safety in our league for a long time. It’s kind of surprising it took this long for him to get a job.”
(On if he’s thought about all the unfortunate circumstances that have taken place in the State Farm Stadium for the Seahawks over the last few years)
“No, didn’t think about that at all. Not in correlation to the stadium, no.”
(On how much of a step forward the running game is to what the team hopes to accomplish)
“It’s huge. You’ve heard me say it numerous times, to me, the way that you win and play championship football is you run the ball on offense, you don’t turn it over, and you dominate on defense. We were able to do that in this last game. I thought we did a heck of a job running the ball. I thought we had a great game plan going in, I thought it was consistent throughout.
When we needed to make our plays on third-down, we did that. We did that at a high level. Obviously, coming out with the victory makes everything feel better. I think that was a huge step in our progress. We’re going to continue to work on it and we’re going to get better throughout the season.”
(On Tyler Lockett) “I can’t say enough about Tyler (Lockett).
I think that outside of football, just to get to this point. The emotional, physical battles he’s had to go through. The injury that he had a couple years ago was a very significant injury. As you can imagine, not only the time it takes to come back physically, but also there’s some time to come back mentally and emotionally from that. He’s done a fantastic job at it.
He’s battled in every way that you can imagine and he’s going out there and he’s dominating. He’s playing at a very high level when he’s having fun – which is the most important thing, he’s having fun. I couldn’t be more happy for him. Proud of him because he’s developed into such a great leader for our team. I’m looking forward to his progression as a man overall in the future.”
(On what he’s learned from Larry Fitzgerald)
“Man, what haven’t I learned from Larry (Fitzgerald). Larry is the epitome of what a professional human being looks like. He brings his lunch-pale to work every morning. He’s very consistent, you can watch it on film. He’s very consistent in how he attacks opposing defenses. He uses his body and his ability to as close to perfection as you can get.
He’s also just very knowledgeable about the sport of football. Outside of that, he’s just a great human-being. I’ve had a number of opportunities to spend time with him and kind of just pick his brain about life. He’s a very unique individual. He’s a very humble, thoughtful and considerate person. He’s gone through so many things in his life and had so much success. For him to be at the level of humility that he is, is pretty impressive. This world that we live in is very tough to navigate at times and he has done a marvelous job at it. I can’t say enough about Larry.”
(On his progress with the King County public defenders office)
“The public defenders office, they have been working diligently on a number of fronts, particularly in the cash bail system and trying to get that abolished for lower-level misdemeanor, non-violent offenses.
We’ve been working with them more recently more so than anything, but we’re way ahead than where we’ve been. I’m just trying to get caught up and figure out where I fit in in the grand scheme of things here in King County.”
(On if he could see Tyler Lockett’s touchdown coming the same way Pete Carroll did
) “Yeah, absolutely. When guys are on the sideline, everybody’s locked into the game. Two of our rookies, Alex McGough and Caleb Scott, they were, they didn’t have to, but their assignment during the game was to figure out what the signals were for the opposing team.
They knew the signals by that point in the game. When we lined up, they were calling out what the defense was going to be and the coverage that they were going to be in. I’m in my head thinking, okay the outside guys have a chance to get open. If you watch it, all three receivers were open. David Moore got open, Tyler (Lockett) got open, and Keenan Reynolds also got open. It was just one of those situations that worked out perfectly for us. We could have scored a touchdown either way.”
(On how much he talks to Keenan Reynolds about his military background)
“We’ve had a number of conversations. He’s been very open and vulnerable with the receivers group. We’ve talked about his experience at the Naval Academy and just what all that entails and what that comes with, the pressure that that comes with. I think he’s handled it pretty well.
He’s told us some stories that are different, interesting. It makes for him just the character of a human-being is really broad, it’s a different perspective than a lot of the guys in that room. He brings a special element to our team for sure.”
(On if he can tell his military background by the way he carries himself)
“For sure. You can tell when you talk to him. He’s very on the details and he expects a certain level and a certain standard from people that he interacts with, which is great for our room because it sets a precedent. Even though he’s still young by NFL standards, he’s a great leader already. He’s going to be a very pleasant presence for our team moving forward.”