He wasn’t “Angry Doug” Baldwin when he exploded on a Seahawks front-office employee along the sidelines last weekend.
No, he was “Empathetic Doug” Baldwin.
That’s what the Pro Bowl wide receiver said Thursday, when I asked him to describe his screaming at Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner during the team’s win over Dallas on Sunday. It happened while Baldwin was in street clothes on the sideline rather than in the game. A national-television audience plus many of the 68,000 people inside CenturyLink Field saw it.
First, context for the comeuppance: Baldwin was out for the second consecutive week with a sprained knee. Those are the first two games he’s missed since 2012, his second year in the NFL with Seattle.
Thursday I asked Baldwin, what was his yelling at Kirchner was about.
“I knew you were going to ask me,” he said with a wry grin.
“It was empathy. That’s what it was. I won’t go into a great deal of detail. But, essentially: It’s frustrating when you are 0-2, when you start they way that we started (this season). And we’ve had some frustrating games, especially as a receiving corps, being here for so long and knowing the process, knowing what you guys are going to say, the questions that come up in our room, the receivers room, and how that plays a role in just the emotional stability of the receivers. And then just other things that come along with that.
“So when they (the receivers) come off the field and they are telling me how they are feeling and they are expressing their emotions, and myself trying to be impacting them in that regard, there’s a lot of energy there. On top of the fact that I am not able to be out there playing with them and helping them. On top of the fact that there’s history, you know. There’s a lot there.
“So I think that was just an exertion of energy that Trent just happened to be in the area at the time, unfortunately.”
That’s what Baldwin says he remains with Kirchner.
Baldwin said he reached out twice to general manager John Schneider’s personnel man, to apologize. Once was with a fist bump and cooler words they shared a few minutes after the blowup, again while still on the Seahawks’ sideline during the Dallas game. The second was via text message to Kirchner after.
“I sent him a text message, and I just told him I was just...well, during the moment I came back to him and said, ‘Look, man, I’m sorry. I just had to get that out,’” Baldwin said. “And he got it. He knows. He understands. So we had a good conversation about it.
“That’s my guy, though.”
Yes, in the game the Seahawks’ offense finally established the run—with 39 rushes versus 28 pass calls to control the day and the Cowboys in Seattle’s first win of the season—the guys used to getting all those passes thrown their way apparently weren’t happy. Fix one thing, cause another issue.
At least, that’s according to Baldwin’s depiction of why he was yelling, to come to his colleagues’ defense.
They’d all be a lot more unhappy, and there would be a lot more yelling, if they were 0-3 right now, though.
Baldwin’s had an outlet through which to vent that “energy” the last two days. He’s practiced, for the first time since he partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the first half Sept. 9. He got hurt in the loss at Denver in the opener.
The Seahawks have missed him, especially on third downs. Russell Wilson threw three times to Brandon Marshall on third down in the first half against Dallas last weekend. The 34-year-old wide receiver had all three of those passes go off his hands. Those were three punts Seattle likely would not have had if Baldwin was playing. He’s one of the NFL’s best at getting open in tight coverage off the line and catching anything Wilson throws anywhere near him, particularly on third downs.
Baldwin said Thursday “I am ready.” And all signs say he is on track to play Sunday at Arizona (0-3), though coach Pete Carroll has yet to say definitively he will.