Commentary: Baldwin’s somber Seahawks end is mitigated knowing the best is yet to come

It’s hard to move forward without first acknowledging the Seahawks career that came to an abrupt end this week.

For more than a year, we digested the disappointment of Kam Chancellor’s impending release. But when the players cleared out their lockers in January, no one expected Doug Baldwin to face a similar fate.

That’s why it was extra tough to come to grips with the finality of a football career we simply didn’t want to believe or accept. Because Baldwin represents everything many of us want to emulate – from his will and determination, to his passion to succeed and, best of all, his desire to lead – on and off the field.

I don’t need to remind you of the receiving numbers that represent some of the best in franchise history – all from an undrafted rookie who had less of a chance to prove himself because of an NFL lockout the offseason he came out of college.

I don’t need to remind you that Baldwin went from NFL castaway to Super Bowl Champion and a team leader that will one day end up in the Ring of Honor. But while from a Seahawks perspective, it’s a huge loss, from a societal perspective, we’re not losing a thing.

Because Baldwin is primed to continue making an impact in our world – a man fully intent on still bringing a brand new community center in Renton to life. It’s not a shameless plug to remind everyone to take part in his 3rd Annual Family Combine on Sunday June 23 at Renton Memorial Stadium. In fact, why don’t we all register and make this day the goodbye party he truly deserves?

After all, we’ve watched a young man from Gulf Breeze, Florida become Seattle through and through. He embraced this franchise and this city as willingly as we embraced him back. And whether or not you agree with his method of using his Seahawk platform to speak out politically, in the end, all I see is a man who practiced what he preached: Charity, tolerance, empathy for others, and open discussion.

Tonight marks a genuine thank you – for every incredible play, for every improbable catch, for your grit and for your guts. But also for your honesty and courage on the field – and what lies ahead.

And if there’s anyone who still doubts your commitment to family and humanity – check out his Twitter feed tonight, and here’s also a small representation and reminder of what we’ve seen the past eight years:

(VIDEO can’t be shown online due to NFL footage restrictions)