RENTON, Wash. – Former Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin says he found the first few months of his NFL career more challenging than letting go, but he has no second thoughts about getting away from football and doesn't think he ever will received the desire to return.
The process of making this decision, according to Baldwin, began well before he was injured during what turned out to be his last season.
"It was a process longer than last year," Baldwin told ESPN.com on Monday. "I think when you get into the NFL or any entertainment business as a young man, you have to be selfish, you have to be self-centered, because everything is self-preservation on that stage. I'm not saying it's a general population of athletes and fun people, but I think many of us struggle with the concept of having a god complex, thinking that we are invincible and that we are immortal in some way, and when you start to take on the reality of being mortal and know that it will all end at some point, you start to see the world differently I have been going through this process for several years. In fact, I started my second year in the NFL, realizing that there must ultimately be a plan. "
The challenge for Baldwin is not to miss the sport he played through most of your life.
"What's more, my identity is shrouded in football from the age of 6," he said. "Navigating not to have this, to have no instant feedback and false confirmation of what my value is in the world, because I was caught on some days, I navigate it as a person on a very human level. This process is the least of the challenges, but the least of its benefits is that it allows me to refocus my passions, but also to find out who I am in the bigger scheme of things and how I fit into the world. "
Baldwin spoke while staining on grass near a renting school in Renton, Washington, where he worked with local officials to build a $ 1
Baldwin missed three games in 2018 and was physically compromised for most of the season while dealing with injuries to both knees, shoulder, elbow and groin. This led to three postseason surgeries. Baldwin said he was still struggling to recover, though it was "coming together." He said he probably shouldn't play as much as he did in 2018, noting that he returned after weeks of injuries that should have eliminated him for months.
Baldwin, who recently became a father for the first time, replied in the affirmative when asked if he was scared of him last season to think about how those injuries would affect him later in his life. In this regard, he sympathizes with Andrew Luke, his former teammate and close friend at Stanford.
"It's kind of annoying to watch the kind of comment that wraps around Andrew retiring," Baldwin said. "… This is a moment in life that I think everyone reaches, whether you are in sports, entertainment or at a desk or in a factory. You have reached the point where you have to make the decision that is best for your life. in the long run and as difficult as it was for people who were in the kingdom that put them on a pedestal, this false confirmation, this false confirmation that you are a better human being than other people because you capture interruptions or because you throw sensors , it's hard to get out of it.
"… Perspective is that I have to do what is best for my wife and my future children, and that comes first. And when you face the decisions of, "Well, if I keep doing this, what will be the health when my child is born? When my children are old enough to run and play, will I be able to enjoy that experience and have this experience that I imagine in my head? Will I be able to do it? So you come to the proverbial fork in the road, as Andrew said, and you have to make a decision. The decision to play football initially and put everything into it to achieve those goals and get money and all that stuff, it was kind of selfish. It's the same on this side. It just looks different. It's all about self-preservation. While trying to articulate it, it was a challenge, but I think the most important aspect of it all is that I can look back when I'm 60, I can look back and say I've done my best to make sure I can take my kids when they were born, that I was able to run with them when they were kids, and be there for them cognitively when they are older and need their dad to be not only a father but also their friend as they travel the world. These things are vital to me and these things take precedence over everything else. "
Baldwin had two years and $ 21 million left over from his contract when the Seahawks terminated him in May with a failed / physical appointment.  He has yet to file with the league, which will make his retirement official , but it's not an indication that he's keeping the door open for potential return, and he made it clear when asked if he could see that he wanted to play Baldwin again, who often stops to think about his answers before put them verbally, didn't wait to hear the end of the question.
"No," he said. Her. "I finished with football."