Former receiver Doug Baldwin was named Seahawks Legend of the Year during halftime of Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic when the Pacific Northwest, like much of the rest of the world, was shutting down, Doug Baldwin put out a call to action.
Baldwin, one of the best receivers in Seahawks history, is from Florida and played his last game in 2018, but he has made the Seattle area home in retirement, so when he saw people in need, he got to work.
Through the Family First Community Center, which Baldwin was instrumental in launching in partnership with the Renton School District, the City of Renton and HealthPoint, Baldwin rallied volunteers on social media and delivered food to seniors and sites offering meal services, while also collecting monetary donations.
As Baldwin wrote at the time, "There is no greater time than now to show our compassion for each other. To the brave men and women on the frontlines combatting the spread of the virus, Thank you! We owe a great deal of gratitude to you for your sacrifice."
Baldwin stepping up last spring was just one of the many examples of how the former Pro-Bowl receiver has used his platform and his financial means to make a difference in the community, and it's just one of the reasons why Baldwin is the 2021 Seahawks Legend of the Year.
Baldwin, who retired after the 2018 season, is the third Legend of the Year winner after Cliff Avril won last year, and Jacob Green won the inaugural Legend of the Year award in 2019.
"The first couple of emotions I feel come over me is gratitude and love," said Baldwin, who also raised the 12 Flag prior to kickoff of Sunday's home opener. "Obviously it's a very prestigious group of people who have been honored with the award. And just the work that those who have received it before me, it's just an honor to be in company with them, first and foremost, and I'm also very honored and grateful to be recognized for the work that I have been doing. And you don't do the work in that regard, to be honored or to be acknowledged, but nonetheless I do take the honor of being recognized with gratitude."
Since retiring, Baldwin has become a father of two girls, and is working towards his masters in applied positive psychology at Penn, while also advising for Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue-based tech incubator. And while juggling all of that, he remains active in the community, just as he was as a player when Baldwin did everything from work to get a police-accountability bill passed through the state legislature, to playing a key role in launching the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice For All Action Fund, to co-writing with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting criminal Justice Reform.
On the field, Baldwin was a two-time Pro Bowler who retired with the second most touchdown receptions in team history (49), and the third-most receiving yards (6,563) and receptions (493). Baldwin also set a franchise record with 14 receiving touchdown sin 2015, tied the franchise record for receptions with 94 in 2016—a mark since surpassed by Tyler Lockett, who had 100 in 2020—and he had seven seasons with 50 or more receptions, a total surpassed in team history only by Hall of Famer Steve Largent.
And as that remarkable on-field career played out over the years, Baldwin found himself more and more compelled make his mark not just on the football field but in the world, in no small part because the role his wife had in bringing that out of him.
"Just because of who my mom is, who my dad is, I've always had that innate thought that I can make an impact, I can make a difference, whether it was in sports, on a team, or in society," Baldwin said. "So I've always had that scaffolding, if you will, that internal scaffolding. I didn't really unlock that, I didn't really see it for the route or the direction that I have with it now until I met my wife. She was the one who kind of untapped this new perspective of love, and that was pretty profound and revelatory for me. So I think she had a lot to do with it, even though she won't say that... I was on my way. I was interested. I was my head space was going in that direction, but my wife kind of just made it very clear when she demonstrated what love was to me."
Avril, who was teammates with Baldwin from 2013-2017, was last year's Legend of the Year, and wrote Baldwin a heartfelt letter about what it means to be legend of the year:
We are a part of a unique brotherhood. The hardest part about hanging up the cleats for me, was not seeing you all, day in and out. Hours and hours. Grinding together, hustling together, winning and losing – together.
But from the moment I left, I knew you – and everyone – were never far. Now just a phone call, or a car ride away instead of the meeting room over.
For most of us, our presence in the community grows once we step off that field. For you – it refined. You have embodied the spirit of a Seahawks Legend since your first year here.
I've watched you walk the walk since day one. You continually take time to help those around you – from large programs, to checking in on friend when we need it. You make me so proud to be a Seahawk, a Legend and a forever teammate.
As last year's Legend of the Year – it's an honor to present you with 2021's Legend of the Year Award and welcome you into another brotherhood.
Keep using your platform for good. Keep doing what you do. Simply put – just keep being you._
Take a look back at some of the best photos and moments from wide receiver Doug Baldwin Jr.'s career with the Seattle Seahawks.