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Wednesday Round-Up: Seahawks Legend Doug Baldwin Tackles Mental Health on Ray Roberts' Garage Grind Podcast

Seahawks Legend and Garage Grind Podcast Host Ray Roberts discusses mental health with Doug Baldwin.

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Good afternoon, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Wednesday, May 31— about your Seattle Seahawks.

Two Seahawks Legends Come Together To Discuss Mental Health, Humanizing Athletes & More

The last day of May brings an end to Mental Health Awareness Month on the calendar; but doesn't stop the work being done year-round. In November, Seahawks Legend Ray Roberts launched the mental health edition of Big Ray’s Garage Grind Podcast. In this week's latest episode, Roberts is joined by Seahawks Legend, entrepreneur and community leader Doug Baldwin to discuss mental health, creating change and humanizing athletes.

Over the course of an eight-year career exclusively with Seattle, Baldwin was consistent. In seven of Baldwin's eight seasons, he nabbed over 50 receptions. The 2015 NFL co-receiving touchdowns leader (15) also helped the Seahawks secure their only Lombardi Trophy, catching a touchdown in Seattle's Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Broncos, catching a touchdown. Off the field, Baldwin became known to be as consistent with his actions following his words. Amongst civil unrest surrounding several black deaths at the hands of law enforcement, Baldwin called out law enforcement in 2016. But his words were followed with action, as he looked to create the change he sought. The Stanford alum was joined by several Seahawk teammates that October, as he met with the Seattle Police Department to discuss better methods of community engagement. The 2023 Paul G. Allen Humanitarian Award recipient continues to walk the walk, as he balances helping the youth at his soon-to-be open Family First Community Center in Renton and former Seahawks teammates Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett through their Champions of Change foundation. Roberts opens the show by praising Baldwin for being "intentional and purposeful" in his efforts. Despite this, the emotion displayed on and off the field hasn’t always been seen as endearing. Baldwin addresses the idea around the stigma of "Angry Doug."

"I'm an ultimate competitor," said Baldwin. "I would like to say, if I'm boasting about myself, I'm an elite competitor. It doesn't matter what it is. If it's football, basketball, tennis, golf - which I haven't started yet because I know I'm going be consumed with it when I do. Chess, Checkers - it doesn't matter, I want to win. And people saw that, I was able to express that on the football field. It also came out in a number of different ways. You can look at my demeanor and my disposition on the football field and say, 'He's angry.' Really, what it was is, I was only there to win. I'm only here to win. I don't care about anything else - I'm here to win. That sometimes came across as angry when I felt like we weren't all on the same page or we weren't moving in the same direction. But at the end of the day, it wasn't necessarily negative angry to that degree - I think it was just a passion for trying to get a team, a culture moving in a direction so that we could be successful at winning."

"It's kind of like an outer-body experience," said Baldwin. "Nothing can stop you, you're in that moment where everything that should go your way, is going to go your way because you're flowing in the moment. You're not trying to corral it; you're not trying to control it. You're allowing the moment to happen, and you're just tagging along with it. I have to feel myself on the field, in my stance, feeling the grass under my feet. Feeling the temperature, hearing the crowd - seeing everything around me. And then running my route, watching the ball leave the quarterback's hands flying through the air. Me catching it, me tucking it in, and then feeling my legs move after the catch. I've seen it, I've already felt it, I've already been there. And now, it's just okay - 'That was just rehearsal, let's go do it again.'"

Despite being aa great competitor on the field and philanthropist in the streets, Baldwin is only human. A husband and father trying to balance it all, as he looks to help others with less to figure things out and find a way. Baldwin opened up about how being affected by postpartum depression as a father changed his outlook on mental health. 

"There's a lot of stigma around mental health," said Baldwin. "And really understanding how does that impact you as a human being and how do you show up for people around you. When my daughter was born, what I didn't realize, I always knew that sometimes women have postpartum depression that they deal with. I didn't know that it was very prevalent for men too. I became aware after the fact, and I realized I was going through some significant mental challenges. Both because I was retiring from the NFL - I had been playing football since I was six-years-old. So it was all I knew, so not having that. And having this new human being to take care of - for about eight months, I would say I was in a really deep depression. Had a whole bunch of counseling, got an amazing wife, got an amazing family and support system around me so I was able to come out of that in a healthy way. I believe in a healthy way. But it was really - and I can't understate that - very challenging."

To hear more from Roberts and Baldwin as they tackle finding peace and happiness in life and sports - listen here.

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