No doubts about retirement



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RENTON, Washington – Former Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said he found the first few months of his post-NFL career more difficult than relaxing, but he did not doubt the decision that he had made. He had taken to leave football. I do not think he'll ever want to come back.

According to Baldwin, the process to arrive at this decision began long before he was the victim of a multitude of injuries during his last season.

"The process was longer than last year," Baldwin told ESPN.com on Monday. "I think when you enter the NFL or any entertainment business as a young person, you have to be selfish, you have to be egocentric, because it's all about self-preservation in this arena." I'm not saying that 39 is the general population of athletes and artists, but I think that many of us struggle against the concept of a divine complex, thinking that we are invincible and that we are immortal in certain respects and that the we are beginning to understand the reality of being mortal and knowing that all this will end at some point, you start to see the world differently.The perspective is changing.I've been in this process for a number of years. years. "He actually started my second year in the NFL, understanding that there must be a plan."

For Baldwin, the challenge is not to miss the sport he has practiced for most of his life.

"It's all the more so as my identity has been packed into football since the age of 6," he said. "Navigating without having that, not having instant feedback and the false assertion of what my value was in the world because I had been getting hit over the days, I am sailing as human at a very humane level. This process has been challenging to say the least, but it has also been rewarding, as it has allowed me to refocus my passions, but also to re-understand who I am in the larger context and how I am in the world. "

Baldwin spoke while he was standing on a grass field near a primary school in Renton, Washington, where he is working with local authorities to build a center for $ 15 million health / community service for underserved youth. Baldwin said the hope is to usher in the work in February, now that $ 10.5 million has already been collected, which includes $ 1 million of his own money and a donation of $ 70,000. Seahawks dollars. The proposed site is a short drive from the team's headquarters.

Baldwin missed three games in 2018 and was physically compromised for most of the year while he was injured on both knees, shoulder, elbow and groin. . This led to three surgeries after the season. Baldwin said he was still struggling to recover, although "it's moving forward". He admitted that he probably should not have played as much as he had done in 2018, noting that he had returned in weeks after injuries meant to marginalize him for months.

Baldwin, who recently became a father for the first time, responded in the affirmative when asked if it scared him last season to think about the consequences of his injuries later in his life. . He sympathized with Andrew Luck, his former Stanford teammate and close friend, in this regard.

"It's pretty frustrating to see the kind of comments that surround Andrew's retirement," Baldwin said. "… it's a moment of life that everyone thinks about, whether it's in sports, entertainment, office work or a factory." You get to a point where you have to take the best decision for your life in the long run, and as difficult as it is for people who are in a kingdom that has placed them on a pedestal, this false assertion, this false validation that you are a better human being than others because whether you're catching touchdowns or throwing touchdowns, it's hard to get out of it.

"… The prospect is this: I have to do what is best for my wife and my future children, and that comes first, and when you have to make the following decision:" Well If I continue to do so, what is my health like when my child is born? When my kids are old enough to run and play, will I be able to enjoy this experience and have that experience that I dream in my head? Will I be able to do that? As Andrew said, you come to the proverbial fork of the road and you have to make a decision: decide to play football and make every effort to achieve those goals and get it done. Money, etc. selfish. It's the same thing on this side. It looks totally different. It's all about self-preservation. As I try to express it, it's a challenge, but I think the most important aspect of it all is that I can look back when I'm 60 years old. , I can look back and say that I have done everything so that I have the opportunity to pick up my children at birth, that I was able to accompany them when they were born were children and had to be there for them cognitively when they were older and that they needed their father to be not only a father, but also a friend who was sailing the world. These things have been of vital importance to me and take precedence over everything else. now."

Baldwin was two years and $ 21 million left on his contract when the Seahawks canceled him in May with a failed / physical designation.

He has not yet filed any documents with the league that would make his official retirement, but that does not mean that he leaves the door open for a potential return. He clearly explained when asked if he could see himself wanting to play again. Baldwin, who often interrupts to think about his answers before verbalizing them, does not even wait for the end of the question.

"No," he says. "I'm done with football."

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