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Why Doug Baldwin is one of the most compelling figures in Seattle sports

Seahawks' wide receiver Doug Baldwin takes part in an NFL training session at the Grove Hotel in Chandler's Cross, Watford, England, Oct. 11, 2018.
Matt Dunham
/
The Associated Press
Seahawks' wide receiver Doug Baldwin takes part in an NFL training session at the Grove Hotel in Chandler's Cross, Watford, England, Oct. 11, 2018.

Former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin confirmed this week that he is, indeed, retiring from football. He issued a touching farewell on social media. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick talked about Baldwin's legacy.

"He's an unusual blend of passion and talents and intellect," Thiel said.

And don't forget scrappy.

"Just being 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 190 pounds in the NFL, surviving eight seasons — if he just did that alone — it would have been quite a feat. But he excelled," Thiel said.

He noted that Baldwin ended his career as the Seahawks' No. 2 receiver in touchdown passes, trailing only Steve Largent. And he was third overall in yardage.

Thiel said he's not surprised the injuries finally took their toll. But, he added, it's still a bit of a shock to see Baldwin depart.

"He was such a leader," Thiel said. "Even though he was volatile and sometimes difficult, I think Doug had a real powerful influence in the locker room. He had the respect of everyone."

Thiel said Baldwin had the nickname of "Angry Doug" early in his career and he always had a chip on his shoulder. The son of a police officer, Baldwin developed a lot of passion about social injustice.

"He was an advocate, as a player in his later years, for police reform," Thiel said. "He's been very active in the community about looking for connections between disparate communities.

"But he had to manage himself early on. There were times when he would lash out. (He was a) very prideful guy but he could do things that would irritate people.

"There was a lot of intensity about Doug's personality, but there was also a real vision and a belief that he could make a difference in a game, a season, a team and maybe in the future."

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes or Google Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
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