Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin was a guest on Gee Scott's final show on 710 ESPN Seattle before John Clayton takes over that time slot starting next week. If you're hoping for an update on Baldwin's contract status, sorry, he had no new updates to provide: "I'm not worried about it. I'm focused on helping my teammates and being out here for OTAs and practicing and getting ready for the season." But Baldwin did offer plenty of other interesting insight into what motivates him, his relationship with quarterback Russell Wilson, what receivers might surprise in 2016 and more.
Here are a few highlights from the interview:
1. Three receivers who might break out in 2016.
The Seahawks have a strong top three at receiver coming back from last season in the form of Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett, but the battle for playing time and roster spots behind those three will be very competitive in training camp. In Baldwin's opinion, there are at least three potential breakout candidates who might surprise some people in 2016.
"I can't really say just one guy, because I would say we have three guys right now who are under the radar who have the potential to be crucial impact players for us, and that's Kevin Smith, Kasen Williams and Doug McNeil," Baldwin said. "Those guys have come a long way since they first got here, they've worked their tails off to get to where they are now, and they're performing at a really high level for us in OTAs. To me, those three guys, any of them could become the next star receiver for us. I'm really excited to see what those guys can do this season for us."
2. Trust and accountability are crucial to the receiver-quarterback relationship.
This will be Baldwin and Russell Wilson's fifth season together, and those two are looking to build off what was an incredibly productive season for both in 2015.
If Baldwin and Wilson were on the same page with each other more last year than they had ever been in the past, that's because few, if any, on-field relationships in football benefit more from time together than the one between quarterback and receiver.
"I think the two biggest attributes that a receiver and quarterback have to have is that they have to trust each other and they have to hold each other accountable," said Baldwin, who had an NFL-high 14 touchdown catches in 2015. "We've been able to do that."
Baldwin said that trust and accountability extends off the field, with the two currently making sure the other is on track to meet weight goals for training camp.
"It comes down to trust," Baldwin said. "He's got to be able trust me to be where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there, and I've got to trust him deliver the ball on time so I don't get smacked in the face. To me it's those two things. You've got to have trust and you've got to have accountability."
3. "What drives me is that I love the game of football."
Baldwin has earned plenty of praise and accolades for his play in recent years—including recently being named to the NFL Network's Top 100 Players list—he has a Super Bowl ring, and he has made a good amount of money already and will make significantly more on his next contract, whether that comes this year or next year, but that doesn't mean the former undrafted free agent has lost his edge. Baldwin readily admits he sometimes uses external things for motivation such as criticism of his game, or the fact that he was undrafted, or in the case of Super Bowl XLVIII, seeing ESPN analysts pick the Broncos to win on the morning of the game, but the biggest thing motivating him is much simpler than any of those things.
"I love the game of football, simply put," Baldwin said. "I really do appreciate everything the game of football has taught me, has provided me. So I'm loyal to it, I'm loyal to my teammates, loyal to the organization that gave the opportunity to play here. I remember playing football in little league when I was six years old, seven years old, those are some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood. For me what keeps me motivated, what drives me is that I love the game of football. I'm extremely passionate about what I do, and I'm extremely blessed to be in this situation."
Photos from the sixth of nine Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that the Seahawks held at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Friday, June 3.