Doug Baldwin was a couple minutes into talking to the media after the Seahawks’ second practice of training camp. Russell Wilson sneaked behind me and a couple other reporters standing a few feet to Baldwin’s left.
Wilson then interrupted Baldwin’s press conference with his own question Sunday.
“How’s it feel to live in the high-rent district?” the $87.6-million quarterback asked with a sly grin of Seattle’s newly minted, $46 million wide receiver.
“I don’t know,” Baldwin replied, smiling and leaning on the podium without missing a beat. “You tell me.”
Never miss a local story.
Baldwin, the former undrafted rookie free agent from 2011, said he splurged on “Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Martinelli’s” after signing his contract a month ago. Meanwhile, Wilson was preparing for his wedding a few weeks ago to singer Ciara at an 18th-century castle in the English countryside.
(Asked Saturday what he’s noticed new in Wilson since his wedding, coach Pete Carroll deadpanned: “He’s smiling a lot.”)
While Baldwin may not quite know what Wilson’s version of the “high-rent district” is, he absolutely knows the pace and pulse of the Seahawks. He’s one of their team leaders, the at-time fiery force of personality and determination that is a locker-room unifier.
And two days into training camp, he says this is a refreshed, recharged, re-rededicated team. He said the energy is higher this summer than in previous Seahawks ones.
That, he said, is because of the last-second loss at the 1-yard line to New England in Super Bowl 49 to end the 2014 season and the 31-0 hole the Seahawks dug themselves in January in the 31-24 loss at Carolina in NFC divisional playoffs that ended last season.
“The last couple years have humbled us,” Baldwin said.
Speaking of humbled: Sunday he was wearing a black T-shirt with “45.” That represented the combat medics with whom he trained and by whom he was “humbled” this month, part of a Special Forces unit in the U.S. Army at Joint Base Lewis McChord.
The contract Baldwin signed at the end of June to remain a team leader -- his old contract ends after this season -- includes $24.25 million guaranteed. That and the average per year of $11.5 million through 2020 make Baldwin the NFL’s seventh-highest paid wide receiver.
I asked Baldwin what that $46 million meant to him and told him about his team.
“It meant a lot, to be recognized and appreciated,” he said. “Plainly, as a human being, all of us want to feel loved and appreciated and valued. And then when you put a number to it ... honestly, it’s really not about the money. But the money does equate to respect and appreciation and love, so it feels great.
“But at the same time nothing really changes on the football field. We are still going to work knowing what our ultimate goal is to get to.”
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle