Doug Baldwin says the death threats he received in the wake of his comments on America’s racial issues led to his agent calling for the wide receiver to have personal security to ensure his safety.
“The issue was more so prior to our demonstration in the first game. That was a more concerning time,” Baldwin said following Sunday’s 27-17 win over the New York Jets.
Baldwin was referring to when he talked about the Seahawks’ demonstration of unity before the opening game Sept. 11 against Miami.
Seattle’s players, coaches and staffers ended up locking arms during the national anthem, a gesture and alternative to sitting or kneeling during anthems that other NFL players have done to protest racial inequality and shootings by police.
The Seahawks locked arms on Sunday for the fourth consecutive game.
“My agent was worried about me, wanting to get security and stuff. That’s when we started dealing with those issues,” Baldwin said about the threats on his life. “But now it hasn’t been as serious.
“You deal with it as it comes. There are always going to be people out there that don’t necessarily agree and want to take it to another level. I just handle myself accordingly.”
He described the situation to “60 Minutes Sports” for a feature that will air on Showtime at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Did Baldwin indeed get extra security last month? He chuckled. “We took care of it,” he said.
Is that a yes?
“We took care of it,” he reiterated.
Baldwin had 20 catches entering Sunday, his most through three games in his career. He had four catches on four targets for 54 yards against the Jets.
Baldwin’s most impressive catch: He ran down the right hash mark and held on to quarterback Russell Wilson’s dart pass at the Jets 5-yard line despite a mammoth hit in his neck by the shoulder pad of Jets safety Calvin Pryor.
“How did I hang on to it?” Baldwin said. “It’s my job.”
He got chiropractic adjustments on the training table behind the Seahawks bench during the ensuing defensive possession. He said of the neck: “It’s fine.”
Baldwin said he hadn’t been hit like that “in a long time.”
As for the critics who have assailed him for speaking out and who oppose the Seahawks’ demonstrations of unity, Baldwin said: “I have a good comeback for it, but it’s not a humble comeback. So I don’t want to say it.
“You are right. I am going to stick to football. But I am also going to continue to speak out. They just have to suck it up and deal with it.”
So this is what Graham looks like when fully utilized in the offense.
Graham had his second-most yards receiving Sunday — 113 yards on six catches — since the Seahawks traded for him last year. It was his fourth game since he tore the patellar tendon in his knee on Nov. 29 and had a tricky surgery and extended rehabilitation.
“It’s been such a long road for me,” Graham said, “and to finally be a part of what this team has going on and truly be a part of it feels amazing.”
He has 12 catches on 17 targets for 213 yards in the last two weeks.
“He can do anything,” Wilson said of Graham, with whom there finally seems to be a consistent connection. “He can make any play, any catch. He’s a special player.”
But there could have been more.
Seattle had a mysterious end of the third quarter offensively. After getting to the Jets 30-yard line on a 12-yard catch by Graham, the Seahawks took him off the field for a third down in the red zone — the situation for which they traded two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger and a first-round pick to get Graham from New Orleans last year.
Wilson had to throw that pass away and settle for a Steven Hauschka field goal — and a 17-10 lead instead of a two-score advantage.
On the next drive, Seattle again had a third down, this time from their own 16. Graham was on the field, then after the Seahawks called a timeout to avoid a penalty for delay of game, the tight end was on the sideline. Wilson was again forced to throw his pass away to avoid a sack.
“We knew that he would get healed, but we didn’t know how he would respond and come back,” coach Pete Carroll said of Graham. “I don’t know how you can get tested any more and demonstrate that you’re back fully than he did in the past two weeks. Every catch is an extraordinary play in some way.
“I can’t say that we expected it. We just hoped for it and really hoped for him. He did such an extraordinary job of dedicating himself to being right and being well.”
HOME BOY DOES GOOD
Tanner McEvoy was a star, dual-threat quarterback for Bergen Catholic High School, a football power about 12 miles north of the Meadowlands.
So, yes, the undrafted rookie’s first NFL catch and touchdown was a big deal for him. It was a 42-yard reception in the second quarter on which the former Wisconsin quarterback, running back and wide receiver — a Seahawks safety in minicamps this spring — corkscrewed the Jets safety into the turf on a crossing route.
“That’s a great thrill for his family and his friends, Bergen Catholic, all those following him,” Carroll said. “To get a chance to get your first ball at MetLife (Stadium) and it’s a doggone touchdown, that’s one of those things he’ll never forget. I hope his family was all there to see it and all that, and they get to rejoice in that.
“That was marvelous.”
Starting RG Germain Ifedi made his regular-season debut for the Seahawks after missing the first three games with a high-ankle sprain. The rookie first-round pick was called for one false-start penalty, but otherwise wasn’t easily noticed — which means he generally did his job against the Jets’ rugged defensive front. … WR Tyler Lockett barely played on offense — one catch, 13 yards, three targets — and was used only on punt returns not kickoff returns. He continues to heal from a sprained knee sustained two weeks ago. “He’s going to be great after the break. He needs the break,” Carroll said of the upcoming bye. “We tried to take it easy on him today, and not use him too much just to make sure we didn’t overexpose him.” … The Jets entered averaging 131 yards rushing per game. They had 58 yards on 20 carries against Seattle.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle