The retirement of Walter Jones in April touched off the obvious debate: Who is the best player in Seahawks history?
Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, who was the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches when he retired after the 1989 season? Or Jones, a nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle and slam dunk to join Largent in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Good luck with that one.
As the franchise heads into its 35th season, Seahawks.com is dealing with other best-of issues – and the readers of the website will help settle them.
In the coming weeks, fans will be asked to vote for the 35th Anniversary team. Stories on candidates at each position will accompany the ballots – with an emphasis on players from the Seahawks’ earlier years. The top vote-getters will comprise the team and be featured in catching-up-with articles during the season.
Largent and Jones are locks to land berths on the team, just as they were in 2000 when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer selected the 25th Anniversary team.
But there should be some close calls at other positions.
At quarterback, do you go with Jim Zorn, the team’s original QB? Or Dave Krieg, the man who broke all Zorn’s passing records? Or Matt Hasselbeck, the current QB who surpassed Krieg’s marks for career completions and passing yards last season?
And how about the wide receiver opposite Largent? Is it Brian Blades, who caught 80 and 81 passes in back-to-back seasons and ranks No. 2 behind Largent in career receptions and receiving yards? Or is it Darrell Jackson, who caught 87 passes in 2004 and is second to Largent in career TD catches? Or could it be Bobby Engram, who caught a franchise-record 94 passes in 2007? Tight end presents a different-era/vastly different-roles choice between the blocking of Mike Tice and the receiving skills of John Carlson.
And who joins Jones on the O-line? Robbie Tobeck or Blair Bush at center? At guard, is it Steve Hutchinson and Bryan Millard? But what about Chris Gray and Edwin Bailey? Who should be the “other” tackle? Mike Wilson? Steve August? Andy Heck? Sean Locklear?
The selections on defense could be equally agonizing, in part because the club has used 4-3 and 3-4 fronts in the past 34 seasons. So nose tackles will be pitted against 4-3 tackles, and middle linebackers against inside linebackers.
At end, is it Jacob Green and Jeff Bryant? Or Michael Sinclair? At tackle, Cortez Kennedy’s dominance and productivity should provide shoo-in status. But is the other tackle Joe Nash? Or Sam Adams? Or John Randle?
The same scenarios come into play at linebacker, even though we’re allowing two selections each at outside and inside/middle. Outside, there’s Keith Butler, Rufus Porter, Terry Wooden, Chad Brown and Julian Peterson, as well as a half dozen others. But which are the two best? Inside, or in the middle, there’s Lofa Tatupu, but also Terry Beeson and Fredd Young.
It would seem that two of the spots in the secondary are reserved for strong safety Kenny Easley and cornerback Dave Brown. But who joins them? Eugene Robinson and Marcus Trufant? Or John Harris and Shawn Springs? Or Darryl Williams and Willie Williams?
There will be no respite on special teams, where the choices include Norm Johnson or Josh Brown at kicker, Rick Tuten or Jeff Feagles at punter and pick-em situations among the kickoff and punt returners, as well as somehow selecting just one coverage player as the best in franchise history.
Give it some thought, and get ready to cast your votes for the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.