Plenty of professional athletes fancy themselves as tech geeks in some fashion or another, whether they’re into gadgets or video games or they like launching startups and Twitter tirades. Doug Baldwin is the type of thoughtful, nerdy and genuinely interesting guy that made him — just like he was as a receiver for the Seattle Seahawks — a go-to guy for GeekWire.
With the news Thursday that Baldwin’s playing career with team had come to an end, it was hard not to remember how many times we tossed it to No. 89 ourselves.
We sought his perspective on everything from how technology was changing the game he loved to how important it was to give back and serve the greater good of the community.
Check out some of Baldwin’s GeekWire highlight reel below:
GeekWire founder John Cook caught up with Baldwin during the first-ever Madden 17 Championship Tournament in March 2017, an event hosted by the Seahawks at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.
Baldwin discussed his love for video games, his Madden rating, virtual reality, and more.
“Games for myself and for a lot of the guys in the locker room, it’s an escape,” Baldwin said. “We spend so much time, so much effort, so much mental space on the game that we love, video games gives us that mental space to kind of check out for a little bit.”
Instinct over data
At the 2016 GeekWire Sports Tech Summit at what was then Safeco Field, Baldwin joined former Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors for a discussion about technology and what impact it had on their careers.
For all the advances in data collection and augmented and virtual reality being used to try to enhance player performance, Baldwin said he still leaned on the gut instincts that got him to the level he achieved.
He said no amount of data or virtual reality or anything else will change the fact that he has to make the decisions on the football field.
“Maybe it’ll help me in terms of repetition, but when I’m on the field, I’m not thinking about that,” Baldwin said. “It has to be second nature.”
Life after football
Last fall when GeekWire traveled down to Renton, Wash., for a weeklong GeekWire on the Road project, we set up shop not far from where the Seahawks have their practice facility.
Baldwin was the obvious choice to join us for an episode of the GeekWire Podcast, not just because he’d been a friend to the site in previous years, but because he’d shown his commitment to Renton, too.
Baldwin’s efforts to help the City of Renton build a new community center showcased how much he appreciated his own upbringing, and how it taught him to serve those around him for the greater good.
“When people ask me, ‘Why do you want to do this?,’ well, I’m a part of something,” Baldwin told GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and Taylor Soper. “I’m a part of the human collective and I want to be a part of it that’s going in a progressive manner and doing things in a positive way. That’s why I do it.”
While his Seahawks career may be over, we here at GeekWire know we’re not alone in Seattle and across the Pacific Northwest in hoping that Baldwin continues to feel that way about a region he has had such a positive impact on.
He wasn’t shy about saying, after he was done playing, that he wanted to get away from his football persona and take on new challenges and opportunities, and find a platform, for social justice reform or something else.
The Seahawks said Thursday that Baldwin was one of the Seahawks’ best players on the field, but that his “legacy in Seattle, however, will be much bigger than the passes he caught or the games he helped the team win.”
“There’s this parable, it’s called the parable of talents. Some of you may know it,” Baldwin said on the GeekWire Podcast. “I think that I’ve been blessed with a number of talents, and I don’t want those to go to waste. I don’t want to bury them and not risk them to create more.”
GeekWire and Seattle are ready to see what Baldwin creates next.