RENTON The Seahawks were built for this. Built to do exactly this.
Win. Argue. Sometimes fight.
“And we always come back. We always come back to center,” Doug Baldwin said in his explanation of what’s really been going on in the Seahawks’ much-discussed locker room.
Leave it to the well-spoken, outspoken team leader to level with us. Baldwin did not say that reports of Seahawks defense-versus-offense infighting from last month by ESPN back to December here are bogus, are “years old,” or that those accounts and assessments about the NFC’s winningest team the last five years were all garbage.
Leave it to Baldwin to provide reasoned context to the rampant noise surrounding this team the last eight months.
It was a welcome dose to straight-shooting reality compared to the team’s mostly circle-the-wagons protectionism from last week.
“I think a lot of it was made about nothing, about little,” Baldwin said with a shrug on Tuesday following the fifth practice of Seattle’s organized team activities for this offseason.
“If I am speaking candidly, yes, do we have issues in our locker room? Do we have arguments and disagreements? Of course. Every locker room does.
“What I think makes our locker room so great is that we are transparent, is that we are upfront with each other. We do hold each other to a high standard of accountability. And, yeah, sometimes it doesn’t look from the outside...to the outside it doesn’t look healthy. But I think that’s why we’ve been so successful. Pete (Carroll, the coach) and John (Schneider, the general manager) have done a great job where they celebrate this individuality. They cultivate individuals. They allow us to be who we are. Because ultimately that’s going to lead us to be the best that we can be-and then, in the bigger picture, that helps our team be the best that it can be.
“Again, I think it’s a story about nothing, you know? It’s just a family dynamic that we have in our locker room. It truly is special.”
Asked if it is a tough line to balance, this competitiveness and fire that guys push and the possibility of it escalating into disruption that affects wins and losses, Baldwin said yes.
“It is tough,” said Seattle’s No. 1 wide receiver, who has been with the Seahawks since 2011 -- for this entire ride of Carroll and Schneider completely overhauling the franchise to the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl title, a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance and five consecutive runs into the playoffs. “But, you know, you are speaking to some of the most elite competitors in the world...
“It is a fine line. It is a very fine line. And, again, to Pete and John’s credit, they’ve created an environment that cultivates that, that pushes you to that line. But once we touch it, we always come back. We always come back to center. We always refocus...
“Yes, it is a fine balance. But I think we’ve done a masterful job of -- Pete, John and the players in our locker room have done a masterful job making sure that it doesn’t spill overboard.”
All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner takes supreme pride in being the leader of Seattle’s defense. And he says there is no issue between his unit and the offense that the ESPN article last month detailed. Unsolicited, Wagner mentioned how he sees the relationship between the supposed center of turmoil in that ESPN story, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and franchise quarterback Russell Wilson.
"I’m in that locker room every day, and I don’t see it. I see competitors that are trying to push each other and compete, the best they possibly can compete. I see ‘Sherm’ and ‘Russ’ in there together all the time, smiling and laughing,” Wagner said Tuesday.
“The things in that article, I don’t pay attention to it. I walk in that locker room, I see family and people that want the best for one another…
"Everybody has issues. But it’s not really what the article said, in my opinion.”
Baldwin is so competitive he got his helmet popped off while jumping into a defensive-line drill early in Tuesday’s practice --- three months before he plays in a real game.
The six-year veteran wide receiver often joins D-line drills, even during the regular season. He says it’s to sharpen his skills in hand-fighting at the line of scrimmage against press converage from defensive backs.