Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is preparing to kick off another season in Seattle – his eighth in the pros – but for the first time in his career he’ll do so without cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman was among the most notable Seahawks to depart this offseason (Seattle released Sherman in March) though he wasn’t the only big name. Seattle will be without several longtime veterans, including Michael Bennett (traded to Philadelphia), Cliff Avril (released with a failed physical), plus longtime coaches Darrell Bevell (Baldwin’s offensive coordinator for the last seven years), Tom Cable and Kris Richard.
“The initial thought I had, it’s sad,” Baldwin told Bob, Groz and Tom during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle Wednesday. “I’ve been in this organization for eight years now and so those guys have become family to me. We built this culture here together, going to two Super Bowls, you just experience a lot, you go through a lot with each other. And it was sad to see those guys move on, or who are not here because of injuries. You become so close to these guys they become your family. And it wears on the heartstrings for sure.
“I would say on the flipside of it I am excited because we got a lot of young guys in, new faces, new energy, different energy, and it’s part of the unknown. I know a lot of people look at the unknown as a negative thing, as a scary thing, and be fearful of it. But for me going into this year, I’m really excited about the opportunity we have as a young group to grow because I remember myself being in that place not too long ago, and the excitement we had, the encouragement and the prospect of the future. So I’m looking forward to seeing what these guys bring to the table.”
The Seahawks officially kicked off OTAs Monday, but Thursday will be the first open session where media members can get a better look at the Seahawks’ newest players. While Seattle’s draft – headed by first-round pick Rashaad Penny and highlighted by fifth-rounder Shaquem Griffin – rejuvinated local fans, national outlets were overwhelmingly critical. In large part because of the All Pro-caliber players Seattle lost this offseason.
“I’ll be honest, once we lost those guys, because they add so much to the locker room as emotional leaders and cerebral leaders, but they started somewhere too,” Baldwin said. “We all started as young cats, too. And so these younger guys are going to come in and they’re going to have to fill these roles and I feel like they can. They will rise to the occasion.”