On a roster full of players who pride themselves in being gritty, in proving doubters wrong, in out-performing their draft status, perhaps no Seahawk embodies that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude more than Doug Baldwin
There are plenty of reasons why Baldwin shouldn't be celebrating his 27th birthday as the leading receiver of an NFL team. He isn't big, by NFL standards, nor is he the fastest guy at his position, and if not for a strange confluence of events involving a newspaper publisher and a former NFL coach, he probably wouldn't have ended up at Stanford, which was the only Division I school to offer him a scholarship out of Gulf Breeze, Fla.
And even after earning that scholarship and enjoying a productive career at Stanford, Baldwin went undrafted in 2011. But after signing with Seattle in the summer of 2011, Baldwin earned a roster spot, then became the first undrafted rookie since 1960 to lead a team in receptions and receiving yards. Baldwin has been the Seahawks' most consistent receiver over the past four seasons, and this year he leads the team with 14 caches for 127 yards and a touchdown,
In addition to becoming his team's most productive pass-catcher, Baldwin has also earned a reputation for being one of the fieriest players in Seattle's locker room, earning the nickname "Angry Doug Baldwin," though he prefers to think of himself as passionate, not angry. Baldwin remains as passionate as ever, but as he has matured and become a leader, he learned to focus that energy a big differently.
"First off, when I think of Doug, I think of the great competitor that he is, and when he first got here, he was battling to prove that he belonged and fit in, and he did that," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He had a great first year with us. What kind of set the thing in motion is that he's a guy to reckon with. He's got such a great attitude, great habits and skill that he's made a home for himself. With that, because he's such a great competitor, he's very aware and he does see what's going on. So, he's a good guy to help other guys, and visit with them and all of that. He feels kind of the natural responsibility in his room with his guys, the young guys, to help them and try to give them the best chance to be as good as they can be. He's a marvelous team member for all of those reasons, and he comes through as well. He makes the big plays and comes through in critical situations. He's a great teammate for us and he has accepted the position of he's been around, he's been through it, so he does look to help the younger guys when he gets the chance."
A bit older and wiser than when he arrived in Seattle, Baldwin still plays with a chip on his shoulder, and on Monday Baldwin and that chip celebrate another birthday. So happy 27th to one of the most passionate (not angry) Seahawks you'll ever see.
Happy 27th birthday to Doug Baldwin, who celebrates his birthday on "Tell The Truth Monday" this year.