The Pro Football Hall Of Fame announced today that former Seattle Seahawk safety Kenny Easley has been nominated as a senior finalist for the class of 2016.
It could finally happen. Kenny Easley, one of the greatest safties ever to play in the NFL, might be headed to the hall of fame.
We all know how great the former Seahawk was, but he’s sometimes forgotten by even the most passionate NFL fans because his career was cut so short. Easley was forced to retire at the age of 28 because of a severely damaged kidney.
The 4th pick overall our of UCLA in the 1981 draft, Easley was a dominant force from the time he stepped on the field. In just 7 seasons, Easley picked off 32 passes, and when he got the ball in his hands he was as dangerous as any WR or kick returner. He returned those picks for a total of 538 yards and 3 TD’s.
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But as great as he was in coverage, Easley was also one of the fiercest hitters in the game. Tackling stats aren’t available for his entire career, but we remember what a force he was, and he did add 8 sacks to his resume on his way to 5 Pro Bowl and 3 All Pro selections.
His kidney damage was discovered during a physical by the Phoenix Cardinals while the Seahawks were attempting to trade him, perhaps knowing themselves he wasn’t healthy. He failed his physical, the trade was voided (later redone to include a draft pick for QB Kelly Stouffer) and Easley was forced to retire. He then sued the team, and his relationship with the Seahawks deteriorated.
Fences were mended, and in 2002 he was finally inducted into the Seahawks Ring Of Honor.
How he has a chance to earn the most treasured honor of all by possible induction into the hall of fame.
Senior finalists are chosen by a special committee from a pool of players who have been out of the game for at least 25 years. Easley never generated much momentum as a modern era player because of his short career. His name will now be added to the eventual list of finalists to be voted on the week of next year’s Super Bowl. He must be named on 80% of the ballots to make the hall.
Last spring, I had Easley at #4 overall in our list of the Top 40 Seahawk Players of All Time. The other three (Walter Jones, Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy) are all in the hall of fame.
Easley should be too, and now he has his chance.