As Doug Baldwin went through his first Pro Bowl practice Wednesday, he had to check at one point if the casual pace of the workout was the norm for the NFL's all-star game, which will take place Sunday in Orlando.
"So this is how practice is the whole week?" a mic'd-up Baldwin asked Dallas receiver Dez Bryant.
Yes, this is indeed how Pro Bowl practice goes, but that didn't stop Baldwin from being a bit, well, overzealous during his first Pro Bowl practice. Of course that probably shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Baldwin's six-year career in Seattle, where his intensity and passion for the game have helped him become one of the most productive receivers in franchise history.
Other than perhaps safety Earl Thomas, who is known to wear a mouthguard and cleats in a walk-through practice, there might not be a more intense Seahawk between the lines.
As Baldwin put it when he signed a four-year contract extension last summer, "When I look back on it and I try to figure out what truly motivates me, it's my love for the game. That's what it comes down to. I've been playing this game since I was 6 years old. I've never known a summer off not playing football. Even at times when it gets grueling, when you get out here on this field and smell the grass and feel the air, there's nothing like it. There's no other experience I want to experience in life. I'm just thankful and blessed for the opportunity I get to come out here every day, so I'm not going to take that for granted. That edge will never go away until they force me to hang up my cleats."
And speaking of cleats, Baldwin was one of the few players wearing them Wednesday, another sign of him taking this practice a bit more seriously than most of his NFC teammates.
"He got cleats on and everything," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "We're out here in tennis shoes and he's stopping on a dime."
At one point in Wednesday's practice, Sherman gave a half-hearted effort covering Baldwin and yelled, "Hey, you're running too fast. You're running too fast."
When Sherman didn't keep up with Baldwin on another play, the receiver taunted his friend and teammate, "Where you at? You're not going to cover that?"
And Sherman wasn't the only cornerback feigning annoyance at Baldwin's hustle. When Baldwin ran away from Xavier Rhodes with a nifty cut, the Vikings corner gave Baldwin a hard time as a coach yelled, "Don't work 'em like that" to Baldwin.
Baldwin's response? "I had to, he came up and pressed." Baldwin then turned to Bryant and continued, "You know how disrespectful that is when they come up and press? You know how disrespectful that is."
Baldwin also had already familiarized himself with the different rules of the Pro Bowl, chiding a defender, who in Baldwin's view was playing a form of coverage prohibited in the Pro Bowl: "That's illegal, he can't come down like that. I read the rules, I read the rules, he can't come down like that."
In addition to being one of the most intense players on the practice field Wednesday, Baldwin also spent some time making sure Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be looking for him in Sunday's game.
"Look, I know this is an all-star game and whatnot, but when you need me, I'm there," Baldwin told Brees.
Brees responded, "I hear you, trust me, I'm looking for you. I like you, I'm looking for you."
After Baldwin promised he'd be open, Brees added, "I could call option routes for you all day long. Break up, break away, break in, whatever you want. Just run to the open spot, I'll find you."
Photos of Seahawks players practicing with the NFC team in Orlando at the 2017 Pro Bowl.