These have been a grueling two seasons as the Hawks continue to try to rebuild a once relevant franchise. I have found myself feeling nothing but frustration and anxiety concerning the last 6 weeks of the regular season.(1-5)
One beacon of light in a storm of inconsistency and unfulfilled expectations has been linebacker,David “The Heater” Hawthorne. He has been twice the Linebacker Curry has and doesn’t celebrate after every single play. (Seriously Curry?!) He has led his team in tackles the last two seasons in a row, and is the true leader of this defense whether the fans recognize it or not.
Hawthorne played for TCU and nearly doubled his numbers between his junior and senior year yet remained undrafted. As much as I hate to admit it, this is probably a Ruskell pick: great kid with a great work ethic that is on the verge of something bigger. Once L Hill went down to an early injury in 2009, Hawthorne stepped up, took over, and never looked back.
His tenacity is what defines him as a player. He’s everywhere all the time. Game in and game out. The Heater is always running hot. Hawthorne is a steady force in an otherwise floundering defense.
I struggle to understand how so many fans still find faith in Curry and Tatupu after 2 average, at best, seasons. Hawthorne has clearly emerged as the best player on this defense, with next to little or no fanfare. During player introductions at the game, he barley gets an average applause while Tatupu and Curry blow the roof of the place. (I know there’s no roof. It was a metaphor)
Believe this now. Hawthorne has become an elite player for the Seahawks. His next step is to become an elite player in the NFL.
In order for that to happen, however, Hawthorne needs a better defense around him. Or does he?
Cortez Kennedy played on some bad Seahawk teams. The Seahawks went 76-100 during the decade of Tez, yet he continued to draw praise, Pro Bowls, and a Defensive Player of the Year award for his dominant play despite the poor play around him.
I understand that Cortez is a high bar, and am by no means suggesting that one is even close to the other in career contributions to the Hawks. I am merely suggesting using Cortez as a cap for the potential of a player like David Hawthorne. He has shown consistency amongst chaos for two straight seasons. In his three short seasons in the NFL, he has blown the doors off the “safest pick in the draft”. He is reminiscent of Tatupu in his first two seasons starting for the Seahawks… Remember that guy? Super Bowl XL? That guy was amazing.
I believe Hawthorne has become what Tatupu once was. The Heater is the burgeoning leader of this defense. Hawthorne continues to excel despite the lack of a winning record or accolades from press or fans. There have been rumblings about Hawthorne’s prowess, but he’s not the face of this defense in the media. And, he should be. He doesn’t hold out for money, he doesn’t get pulled over in his girlfriend’s crappy car, and remains humble even after being a vital part of the most important play of the game. He’s a guy worth Curry’s contract and Tatupu’s credibility.
He’s the guy who never asks for it or expects it. He Earns it. Everything.