Seahawks Will Dissly wearing Doug Baldwin’s 89 a greater honor than retiring it

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Will Dissly #88 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Will Dissly #88 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Seahawks tight end Will Dissly will be wearing a new number in 2020. It’s a number with a great history attached to it, and Dissly is perfect to inherit it.

Seahawks tight end Will Dissly has been in the news a lot for a guy who’s only played 10 games in two seasons. Let me be clear – I *love* Uncle Will. The fact we 12s pay so much attention to a guy with just 10 games under his belt is a testament to his talent and his drive. While it’s great news that his recovery from an Achilles tear is going extremely well,  I’m more interested in his progress regarding his new number for 2020. Let me explain.

Maybe you’ve heard that the Seahawks scored a pretty sweet deal already this offseason. Seattle landed three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen in a move that is a solid first step in the Hawks plan to get Russell Wilson more playmakers. We’ve already talked about this – and yes, we still love the signing of Olsen – but there was a bit of interesting fallout because of the deal.

You see, Olsen has worn number 88 ever since he joined the Panthers in 2011. That just happens to be the number Dissly wears. Instead of fighting it out like a couple of wildebeest, Olsen is donating some pretty serious cash to a charity of Dissly’s choice. That’s a class move by Olsen. He could have come in and thrown his weight around as a Pro Bowl vet. Instead, he made a move that brings him much closer to his new teammates.

The NFL isn’t cool enough to let Dissly play with his old college number – tight ends can’t wear numbers in the 90s – and they definitely won’t let him rock “UNCLE” on the front of his jersey. So Dissly went for a classic number, 89. All good little 12s know that was the number of one of the Seahawks all-time greats, Angry Doug Baldwin. I find it quite telling that Dissly chose that number, rather than, say, 86, which was worn by both Zach Miller and Jerramy Stevens, a couple of solid tight ends in Seahawks history.

Before Baldwin, Brian Blades rocked the number 89 jersey. All he did was rack up the second-highest receiving yardage in Seattle history. (Just an aside for younger 12s – Steve Largent was so prolific, he was just a good year short of having as many yards as Blades and Baldwin combined). But Baldwin is the man that Dissly was thinking of. If there’s any doubt about that, check out his Instagram post:

Will Dissly came out of college known as the best blocking end in the draft, and he wants to honor a wide receiver. That tells me everything about both Dissly and the respect the team still has for Baldwin. The UDub product turned out to be a great catch for the Seahawks – pun intended – but he makes his living putting defenders on their back. So why would a tight end wear a number identified with a wide receiver? It’s simple. We’re talking about Doug Baldwin, not just a wide receiver.

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He was renowned as one of the very best blockers among wide receivers. There’s a reason his nickname was Angry Doug, after all. There has probably never been as fierce or focused a competitor as Baldwin. Someday, the Seahawks may retire number 89. Until then, I cannot think of a better way to honor the players who’ve worn it than by having it on the back of a competitor like Dissly.