Kenny Easley said he hopes his induction will help open the door for other safeties to follow his lead.
Along with all else that his Hall of Fame induction meant — notably, allowing him to come to peace with a football career whose ending was both premature and tempestuous — Kenny Easley also hopes it will help ease the way for more safeties to follow his lead.
Easley became just the eight player who was solely a safety in his career to be elected into the Hall — there are 310 total players, coaches and contributors in Canton — and the first whose career began after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. That’s tied with tight end for the position with the fewest players in the Hall other than kickers/punters.
Easley had initially planned to use his speech to mention other safeties he thinks should get into the Hall. Time constraints may have gotten in the way (Easley’s speech got cut off near the end).
But he used the pulpit of his press conference the day before to state his case that he hopes safeties such as John Lynch (who was close in 2017), Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins and others will soon also get the call.
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“We only have like eight safeties in the Hall?” he said. “C’mon man. … If I can help it we are going to try to get these guys inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Two others he hopes will someday join him in Canton? Current Seahawks Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Players have to wait at least five years after retirement before they can be considered so it’s a long way off for each — the 29-year old Chancellor last week signed a contract through the 2020 season and Thomas is just 28.
While there are just eight safeties in the Hall there are 17 who played cornerback (and a few, such as Ronnie Lott, who played both).
And to Easley, therein lies the issue — cornerbacks are more often put in position to make interceptions and compile the kind of stats that attract the attention of voters.
Playing in a somewhat different era, Easley still managed to make 32 interceptions in 89 games in just seven seasons (as a comparison, Richard Sherman has 30 interceptions in seven seasons but 96 career regular season games).
Easley’s interception per-game total far outpaces that of Thomas, who has 23 in 107, and Chancellor (12 in 100).
Easley said if he has a critique of Thomas and Chancellor it is that he thinks they too…