Doug Baldwin returns from injury but must manage knee

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin has returned to practice after missing the past month with a knee injury, and while he's expected to be ready by Week 1, he said the issue is something that he'll have to continue to manage.

"I haven't felt 100 percent since I was born," Baldwin said Tuesday. "I'm probably about 80-85 percent right now, and the truth of the matter is that it won't be 100 percent. It's something I've got to deal with for the rest of the season."

Baldwin said he first noticed the injury crop up during organized team activities in May. He practiced for the first few days of training camp and didn't feel right, prompting the team to shut him down with what coach Pete Carroll only described as a sore knee.

Baldwin said Tuesday that at that point "it was time to do something more serious." Carroll previously said Baldwin had traveled out of town to receive an unspecified treatment on his knee but declined to specify whether it was the anti-inflammatory treatment Regenokine, which several Seahawks players underwent last summer.

"It's nice to be back to feeling myself, running again," Baldwin said. "I've been playing this game since I was 6 years old. I don't know what it's like to not have football in my life, so to be out this long ... it was hard. It was hard emotionally. So I'm glad to be back out there."

The 29-year-old Baldwin has led the Seahawks in receiving in five of his seven years in the NFL. He narrowly missed out on his third straight 1,000-yard season in 2017 but still made his second career Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

Carroll has said that Baldwin will be available for Seattle's Sept. 9 opener against the Broncos in Denver.

When was asked if it could be problematic to play without any preseason action, Baldwin said he would have preferred to get some game and practice reps, noting that Seattle's offense under new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer isn't the same as the one he's played in over his first seven seasons.

"I'd like to get the physical reps, especially with the quarterback, trying to get that chemistry and build that rapport," he said. "But again, I've been playing football since I was little, so it's not really much different for me. And I've been in the league now going on eight years, so hopefully at this point it's like riding a bike, so it shouldn't be too big of a deal."

Baldwin's situation could affect the Seahawks' decision on how many receivers to keep on their 53-man roster. Tyler Lockett and Jaron Brown are considered the other two locks to make the team and David Moore has likely secured his spot. Brandon Marshall, Amara Darboh, Marcus Johnson and Damore'ea Stringfellow are four of the other receivers in the mix.