Kenny Easley selected as HOF finalist by Seniors Committee

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We know one of the names that will be up for consideration for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

The Seniors Committee met in Canton on Monday to determine their finalist for this year’s process and the Hall announced on Monday that the choice is former Seahawks safety Kenny Easley. Easley’s candidacy will be evaluated by the 46 members of the Selection Committee on the day before the Super Bowl and, like all finalists, he needs 80 percent of the vote to be elected.

Easley was a first-round pick by Seattle in 1981 and went on to play seven seasons with the Seahawks. Easley had 32 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries and eight sacks in his 89 games with the team, was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 and was named to the Associated Press All-Pro team three times. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also named him as one of the safeties on the All-1980’s team along with Ronnie Lott. Easley and former Bears tackle Jimbo Covert are the only first-team offensive and defensive selections to that team who are not in the Hall.

He was traded to the Cardinals in 1988, but learned during a physical that he suffered from a severe kidney disease that ended his career and led to a successful transplant a couple of years later. He filed a lawsuit, later settled out of court, against the team alleging that overprescribing ibuprofen led to the problem.

The Hall will announce two more nominees on Tuesday after the Contributors Committee meets to determine its selections.

33 responses to “Kenny Easley selected as HOF finalist by Seniors Committee

  1. Preface this by stating I’m a Steelers fan, and I’ve got no issues with this. This dude and Ronnie Lott were the best two safeties in the game for quite a while, until his career ended early. He gets the Gale Sayers injury exception to the HoF.

  2. I’m torn on this one. Kenny Easley was a beast back in the day… but he arguably wasn’t ever the best safety in the league at any point while he played (Ronnie Lott), and he didn’t play that long. Is Easley a Gale Sayers, or is he a Terrelle Davis?

  3. What?!?!?!?! No Jerry Kramer (again!)?!?!?!

    So Kenny Easley was on the all 1980s team? Kramer was on the All 50th Team. How is #64 NOT in the HOF already? And why does he keep getting passed over?

    It’s just WRONG

  4. Worthy…but u have to consider Dennis Smith(Broncos, Ring of Fame) as well. DS49 played at USC w/ Lott, Fisher, J. Browner in same defensive backfield. Played 15 years with Broncos, and played in 3 SB’s. He and Atwater, made up the the most punishing Safety combo in history. Easley came from UCLA, so these 2 were equally effective throughout college and NFL.

  5. He’s gotta be in. 3 time all pro and probably my first big sports disappointment when he was traded and then had to quit football. If he played 3 more years he’d already be in. I hope the hall finds a place for him.

  6. 4 time 1st team All-Pro, 1st team All 80’s team, 1984 Defensive Player of the Year…this should be a slam dunk.

  7. Easley was every bit the player Lott was. Lott just played longer. Let’s remember that an average NFL career is less than 3 years. Easley played 7 until his career was ruined for him by massive overuse of over the counter pain meds (ibuprofen). This was not some guy ruining his own career with booze or illegal drugs. Had he played longer he would have made HOF on his own. Definitely a HOF talent.

  8. With the mediocrity of the ’90’s and the obnoxiousness of the 12’s it may be hard for younger fans to believe there was a time in the mid to late ’80’s when Seattle was a team you really wanted to see on your schedule if you were a football fan versus just being a fanboy, just a blast to watch play. They could beat you on either side of the ball and if you beat them you earned it. Easley was a big part of that. Dude set a tone back there much the way Lott did in SF and was dangerous to throw against as well as a serious special teamer and return guy. Had Easley’s career been longer he probably wouldn’t have had to wait for the Seniors Committee but 7 years and 89 GP may not cut it. People trot the Sayers argument out there whenever we are talking about a short career but Sayers is very much the exception not the rule.

    Big props to Easley from this Pats fan, guy was a joy to watch.

  9. HOF for him.
    Watched him play in his prime and he was just as good as Lott.

    So what if only played 7 seasons.
    Longevity & HOF should not go hand in hand.

  10. Shanahammer says:
    Aug 15, 2016 2:24 PM
    But Ty Law is not a HOF’er
    ___________________-

    Not at all sure what one has to do with the other.
    Easley was a great, because you have no concept of what having a big time safety was in that era doesn’t change the fact that he is HoF material, career duration is the only stumbling block. He’s get this Giants fan’s vote.

  11. Easley does deserve to get in. I thought he was better than Lott. He was as special at safety as Sayers was at RB.

    Still, Jerry Kramer is the only member of the “First 50 years” team that is not in the HOF, and lesser guards from his era (lesser as all-pro choice slections and lesser for not being on that first-50-years team) are in. It makes no sense that Kramer is not in. Not only does he merit entry based on talent and production, but he also has some fame for his block on the Ice Bowl winning TD and for his work as an author.

  12. Easley was a baller, to be sure, pretty much the equivalent to Ronnie Lott, except in one important area – longevity. 89 games, is that enough to get into the hall? If so, it opens a lot of cans of worms for others to be considered. Not saying he doesn’t deserve it based on his play, just not sure that’s enough of a career to justify it.

  13. Wow what a great pick, a player who has been all but forgotten but nonetheless was a force when he played. It makes me smile to see the seniors committee get it right (former players) while the ap writers continually embarrass themselves by passing over many great players for name recognition and a good sound bite.

    I really hope this is Ken Anderson’s year, he is the only quarterback to win 4 passing titles and is not in the HOF.

  14. Nice to see his name in print, and so many non-Hawks giving him respect. Easley was on the screen in my first Seahawks memories along with Largent. It would be nice to see him get in.

  15. Not a lot of safeties in the Hall if you look at the all decade teams; Cliff Harris never got in and he used to kill my Redskins. Chris Hanburger got in a few years ago (Senior committee) but he played a very long time, had a defensive MVP and 4x 1st team all pro and 2x second team all pro and 9 pro-bowls so I think longevity plays into it. Easley was a beast.

  16. Maust1013 says:
    Aug 15, 2016 2:57 PM

    With the mediocrity of the ’90’s and the obnoxiousness of the 12’s it may be hard for younger fans to believe there was a time in the mid to late ’80’s when Seattle was a team you really wanted to see on your schedule if you were a football fan versus just being a fanboy, just a blast to watch play. They could beat you on either side of the ball and if you beat them you earned it. Easley was a big part of that. Dude set a tone back there much the way Lott did in SF and was dangerous to throw against as well as a serious special teamer and return guy. Had Easley’s career been longer he probably wouldn’t have had to wait for the Seniors Committee but 7 years and 89 GP may not cut it. People trot the Sayers argument out there whenever we are talking about a short career but Sayers is very much the exception not the rule.

    Big props to Easley from this Pats fan, guy was a joy to watch.
    *****
    Nice write up about Easley. However, a Pats fan calling another fan base obnoxious is a bit strange.

  17. Speaking of Jerry Kramer, has anyone else ever read the book he wrote based on a diary he kept about the Packers second super bowl winning season, “Instant Replay?” Absolutely worth a read. That was Vince Lombardi’s last year with the Packers, too. You kids might recognize the name Lombardi from the super bowl trophy.

    You don’t have to be a Packers fan to appreciate the depth, realness and football historical value of his writing – but I’m not so sure it went over so well with the owners. Always wondered if it had something to do with his HoF exclusion.

  18. “It’s hard for me to say this, but there was only one guy that I know that’s better and that’s Kenny Easley. He was defensive player of the year and the best player to play the safety position, ever.” — RONNIE LOTT

    “It goes without saying what Ronnie did in his career. But in all candor — and this is no knock on Ronnie — Kenny Easley was a better football player.” — Todd Christensen, Raiders

    Complain all you want about other players, haters, but when the man himself, Ronnie Lott, says Kenny was even better than he was (a now-famous quote), that’s a very proud man owning up to the truth. And I love Ronnie Lott. Dude was a beast. But so was Kenny. This Seahawks great should have been elected to the Hall years ago. Only reason there’s so much hate is because Kenny played up here in Seattle rather in a major media market. If he did, he’d have been a HOF’r a LONG time ago.
    That’s a guarantee.
    Kenny Easley was one of the greatest athletes ever to put on an NFL uniform.

  19. If Easley is worthy then Sterling Sharpe should be as well. Sharpe was the best WR in the league when he played. Better than Rice. But he only played 7 seasons then got hurt. 3 time All Pro. 5 probowls. yada yada yada.

    IMO neither should make it because the HOF is for those players who put up a great and LONG career. Should the HOF put players in for one great season? How about Mark Gastineau? He still holds the real record for sacks in a season. (Strahan never sacked Favre) 3x All Pro.

    7 yrs ain’t going to do it.

  20. The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process on some of its selections is making the entire idea of having a HoF less and less relevant–just like the NFL itself. Two of the most recent inductions illustrate that point very clearly.

    New HoF OG Dick Stanfel played for the Lions and then the Redskins from 1952-1958. He was an All-Pro four times, played on two championship teams (Lions), and was selected to the 1950s all-decade team. Good for him and his family.

    I remember him playing for the Lions, and it is fine that any OL guy gets in because they usually work in such anonymity and it is so hard to measure or define their worth.

    Jerry Kramer played for the Packers from 1958-1968 and on all of the Lombardi teams (1959-1967). He was selected for All-Pro (not merely Pro-Bowl) six times. In 1962, when Paul Hornung was out for the last five games, Kramer kicked FG and XP. In the 1962 NFL Title game in a very cold and windy Yankee Stadium, Kramer kicked three FGs and one XP in the 16-7 Packer win over the Giants–basically scoring all of the winning points in a very hard-fought and difficult game. He was also a five-time NFL champion and on the first two Super Bowl winning Packer teams. Also as noted, he is the ONLY member of the NFL 50th Anniversary team not in Canton. His very good book with Dick Schaap called Instant Replay was from a diary of the 1967 season that ended with the Ice Bowl win over the Cowboys and Kramer throwing a key block for Bart Starr to score the winning TD on a final do-or-die final offensive play of the game.

    The question is not, “Why isn’t Kramer in Canton?” The real question is “How can Kramer not be in Canton?”

    What was the committee thinking when they did not select him in the early 1970s, and again as a Senior candidate a few years ago?

    Scuttlebutt has it that the only reason Kramer is not in Canton is because of a belief by some that there were/are enough Lombardi Packers in the HoF. Fine–I’ll trade Henry Jordan and Dave Robinson (both surprise selections to me after Kramer was not selected) for a space for Jerry Kramer.

    My other “highly questionable” selection is Tony Dungy. Dungy brought the Bucs to respectability and the NFC title game before slipping from a high of 11 wins to 10 wins to 9 wins as the window on a great defense was closing. Two of his very prominent players said (on camera) that they loved Dungy but that he failed to hold some of the Bucs team accountable for their lack of performance. Dungy was justly fired and Jon Gruden made everyone accountable on the way to beating the Raiders the following season. Holding people accountable is not a problem for Jon Gruden.

    To the surprise of most everyone, Jim Irsay hired Dungy to add some defense to the Colts to go along with the offense Jim Mora, Sr. and Bill Polian had put in place that had won 32 games the three previous years–OC Tom Moore, Howard Mudd and Peyton Manning. They never won less than 10 games with Dungy as HC, but then they usually stumbled and lost in the playoffs. The Colts were said to be the Atlanta Braves of the NFL–win the regular season year-after-year, but then crap out in the playoffs. Like the Braves, the Colts won only one title at the season’s end.

    My point is that there are at least three other coaches who took over bad teams and built them into very good teams that eventually won one or even two Super Bowls. Their W-L record cannot match Dungy’s because they were not handed the keys to a team that had won 32 games in three previous seasons with a built-in offense ready to do great things. Those three more-deserving coaches are Jimmy Johnson, Mike Holmgren and Dick Vermeil–probably in that order.

    There are only 46 voters and 80% (37 votes) are required for selection. With those small numbers, it seems that it could be too easy to muster 10 opposition votes to block a nominee for any kind of dopey reason–real or imagined.

    The Baseball HoF process is far from perfect, but it is much better than the process for Canton.

    ‘Nuf said.

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