“Marshawn was notorious for that: never letting anybody be complacent or be relaxed or be satisfied with their production,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin’s first week as a rookie, he was talking to Justin Forsett when Lynch walked over. Forsett introduced Baldwin as a “Stanford kid.” To which Lynch replied, “Maaaan, (blank) Stanford.”
“He was trying to set the tone,” Baldwin recalled last year. “He even said to me, ‘I don’t care where you went. Show me what you got on this field.’ It wasn’t like him trying to big time a rookie. He was saying, ‘Don’t take this for granted.’ That’s what I took away from it.”
Exhibition game, Seahawks @ Chargers, 5 p.m., Ch. 13
It’s a funny story, but it’s also classic Lynch. He did something similar with linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner wanted to prove himself as a rookie, so he went extra hard in practice —too hard, as Lynch made clear. But later, Lynch told Wagner, “Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you could be really good in this league.”
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“It was a test to see if I was going to back down,” Wagner remembered.
So earlier this week, Baldwin watched Carson, a seventh-round pick, rip off an impressive run at practice. Baldwin went up to Carson afterward.
“Nah, I wasn’t congratulating him,” Baldwin said. “He was a little tired, and he waved for somebody else to come in and get his reps. And I told him, bluntly, ‘Get your ass back in there. If you want to be part of our tribe, if you want to be a part of this organization, you’ve got to be a little bit tougher than that.’
“Not to say that he’s not tough; he is very tough. Honestly, he’s probably my favorite rookie out of the bunch right now. He’s done a tremendous job. But as somebody who has been there and done that, who has gone through this process, I just try to egg him to do a little bit more every time that he has the ability to do so.”
As soon as he told the story, it was impossible not to think of his own lesson as a rookie and the lineage behind otherwise small moments in the NFL.
“Marshawn was notorious for that: never letting anybody be complacent or be relaxed or be satisfied with their production,” Baldwin said. “He always asked for more. Granted, the reason why people respected him is because he always gave more. That definitely started with Marshawn. Definitely when I was here my first year, he did that to me. We all try to replicate that as best as we can.”
To this point, Carson has been one of the standouts of training camp.
Of course, he hasn’t had to play in a game or faced any contact, so it’s hard to tell much under those limited conditions. But he looks the part, at least, and Baldwin sees vast potential, which is why he said something.
“He just has all the tools,” Baldwin said. “To me, he’s probably the most polished of any rookie at that position that I’ve ever seen. He has all the tools in his tool bag, and he just has to put it all together. He is mature. He has the right mindset. He has the work ethic. But when you see something like that, you don’t want them to miss the opportunity, so we stay on him because we know the potential that he has. But again, potential means nothing if you don’t put it into motion.”