Doug Baldwin Talks the 'Process' on Deciding to Retire, Andrew Luck Backlash

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2019

Former NFL football Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin takes part in an interview Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, at the location in Renton, Wash. where he hopes to spearhead the construction of a community center. Baldwin is donating $1 million toward the project with the goal of raising another $5 million in collaboration with the city of Renton. Baldwin was released by the Seahawks in early May with a failed physical designation after an offseason where he underwent surgeries on his groin, shoulder and knee. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin can identify with Andrew Luck.  

Baldwin said "I'm done with football" when asked if he plans on coming out of retirement since he is only 30 years old, per Brady Henderson of ESPN. Like Luck, who announced his retirement Saturday at the age of 29, Baldwin walked away from the game while he was still productive.

The two-time Pro Bowler won a Super Bowl during the 2013 season and tallied 50 catches for 618 yards and five touchdowns last year despite missing three games with injuries.

Henderson noted Baldwin has yet to file paperwork with the NFL to make his retirement official but still has no interest in returning. Instead, he is working with officials in Renton, Washington, to build a community health center for underserved youth:

"It's kind of frustrating to watch kind of the commentary that's been wrapped around Andrew retiring. ... It's a point in life that I think everybody reaches, whether you're in sports, entertainment or at a desk job or at a factory. You come to a point where you have to make a decision that is best for your life long-term, and as difficult as that is for people who have been in a realm that has put them on a pedestal, this false affirmation, this false validation that you are a better human being than other people because you catch touchdowns or because you throw touchdowns, it's hard to pull yourself out of that."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Luck, who was booed by Indianapolis Colts fans as he left the field Saturday, is "mentally worn down, and now checking out."

Few know better than Baldwin how that can happen during the course of an NFL career. In fact, he told Henderson thoughts about retirement "actually started my second year in the NFL, understanding that eventually there's got to be a plan."

Baldwin also said of retirement that the "process has been challenging to say the least, but it's also been a rewarding one because it's allowed me to refocus my passions but also to re-understand who I am in the greater scheme of things and how I fit into the world."

Luck will now begin that transition into life following the NFL after he reached four Pro Bowls during seven years as the face of the Colts franchise.


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