Seahawks: Time to Do the Right Thing and Put Kenny Easley in Hall of Fame

Aug 7, 2015; Canton, OH, USA; General view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame logo helmet at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 7, 2015; Canton, OH, USA; General view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame logo helmet at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

As Kenny Easley prepares for his moment of truth, we can only hope the voters are smart enough to elect the former Seahawks’ safety into the Hall of Fame.

The Seattle Seahawks currently have three players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who spent their entire NFL career’s in the Pacific Northwest. If the voters have any sense about them, that number will soon increase to four.

Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones all deserve their places in Canton. So does Kenny Easley.

The strong safety may have only played seven years in the NFL, but his impact was undeniable. His impressive resume includes five Pro Bowls, four First-Team All-Pro selections and being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984.

Throw in a place on the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade team and Easley really did do it all during his time in Seattle. Now all that remains, is for the voting committee to show they are smart enough to give him the ultimate individual honor in professional football.

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No doubt a lot of the voters will get defensive, saying that only seven safeties have ever been eleced into the Hall. However, that doesn’t make it right (for Easley or the position as a whole).

Similarly, justifications will be made by pointing out the 58-year old only played seven seasons, which again doesn’t make it right. Apart from lasting four years longer than the average player, he only retired because he discovered he had irreversible kidney damage.

Unfortunately, no matter what we write, it doesn’t change the fact Easley was overlooked throughout the 20 years he was eligible for the Hall, as a modern-day player. Adding to the frustration, he is the only member of the 1980s All-Decade Team, First-Team Defense not in Canton.

Fortunately, new hope came along last Summer, thanks to a nomination from the Veterans Committee. Don’t expect the 1981 fourth overall draft pick to take anything for granted, but the odds are good that he will finally be enshrined.

Consider that Easley is the only Veterans Committee nominee for this class, with at least one being elected every year since 1997. Again though, he won’t take anything for granted, a sentiment most Seattle sports fans can empathize with.

Being elected into Canton would complete a fairytale comeback, after everything the Chesapeake, Virginia native has been through since having to retire so suddenly. This includes having to undergo triple-bypass heart surgery, suing the Seahawks (the suit was eventually settled out of court) and not talking to the organization for 15 years.

The animosity started to fade when the Seahawks inducted Easley into their Ring of Honor in 2002, leading gradually to this point. However, because he never expected to have another chance to make the Hall of Fame, he isn’t particularly nervous.

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As Easley told Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times and the rest of the local media during a conference call on Thursday: “I look forward to getting to Houston and seeing what happens.

“And if it happens, great. If it doesn’t happen then I won’t be too terribly disappointed, because I had given up on the prospects of this happening.”

As a final thought, if Easley is worthy in the eyes of the great Ronnie Lott, that should be good enough for everyone. As Lott told UPI’s Frank Cooney last August: “In my pursuit at trying to be the best, I always felt like I was shooting up to his level, because he was the standard.

“Kenny’s skills transcended the game…He was as good as there ever was and I mean that right to this day.”

Now it’s up to the 48 members of the Hall’s Selection Committee. It’s time to do the right thing and enshrine Kenneth Mason Easley, Jr. in Canton.

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As a Seahawks’ fan, what are your best memories of Easley’s seven years in Seattle? And more importantly, do you believe he will finally be elected into the Hall of Fame on Saturday? Share your thoughts in the comments section.