“It blows me away that Kenny Easley is not in the Hall of Fame.”
Paul Moyer, Easley’s teammate for five years in the 1980s, expressed his dismay while talking about the legendary Seahawk in our 2008 book, “Then Zorn Said to Largent.”
Well, Paul, it looks like you won’t have to wait much longer. Easley has been nominated by the seniors committee, meaning he has a great chance to make it next February.
You could call it an 86 percent chance. And if not this time, then maybe in a few years.
Hall voters have nominated 50 players since the seniors category was created in 1972, and 43 of them have eventually made it to the Hall. Five were elected on their second nomination (four to five years later). So, even if he doesn’t get in this time, Easley probably will get a second chance.
Easley was one of the most dominant defensive players of the 1980s, but he was not nominated for the Hall of Fame previously because he played just seven years — his career ended by a controversial kidney issue.
As Moyer said in our book, “Kenny Easley was the finest athlete I’ve ever been around. … He was drafted by the NBA (10th round by Chicago in 1981). He returned punts for us and even lined up at cornerback at times. He was the most feared hitter in the NFL.”
Easley was named the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1984, when he picked off 10 passes and menaced receivers and running backs all around the league. He is one of five safeties to win the award, which began in 1971.
Easley was named to the NFL’s 1980s all-decade first team, but he is one of just two from that 22-man list who are not in the Hall of Fame.
“Ronnie Lott will tell you he’s not the players Kenny Easley was,” Moyer said. “It blows me away that Kenny’s not in the Hall of Fame.”
Moyer pointed out that former Chicago running back Gale Sayers was inducted despite playing just seven years himself.
Lott, the other superstar safety from the 1980s, has immense respect for Easley.
As he told Mike Sando in 2002, “Kenny could do what Jack Tatum could do, but he also could do what Mike Haynes could do. He was not only a great hitter and great intimidator on the field, but he was a great athlete. Kenny, Lawrence Taylor and those guys changed the game of football on the defensive side because they were not just big hitters. Now, all of the sudden, you were seeing guys who were big hitters, but also as athletic as anyone on offense.”
Former Raiders tight end Todd Christensen said Easley was better than 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.”
And now it looks like Easley might finally join Lott in the Hall, where fellow career Seahawks Steve Largent, Walter Jones and Cortez Kennedy reside.
For more great insight into Easley and his role on the 1980s Seahawks, check out “Then Zorn Said to Largent.”