Seattle is among the youngest franchises in the NFL, but they have seen many players come through that have made a name for themselves around the league while making a permanent home in the hearts of the Seahawks faithful. There are far too many fan favorites to make this list make sense, but the top players in franchise history are nearly incontrovertible. What order they rank, however, is very much up for discussion.
In the coming weeks, we will be looking at the greatest players to wear the Seattle blue and gray and white and green, and ranking them in what is sure to be a polarizing order. We welcome your comments and/or disagreements.
Before we get back to the official countdown, here are some players who helped Seattle get where they are today but are not typically counted among the best players in franchise history.
WR Joey Galloway (1995-1999)
Most folks probably recall Galloway for his time with Dallas, but his career started in Seattle. The number eight pick in the 1995 draft, Galloway got off to a fast start in his rookie season by catching 67 passes for 1067 yards and 7 touchdowns. Joey G would record at least two more 1000 yard seasons and was just 13 yards short of a fourth. He caught at least 7 touchdowns in all four of his complete seasons, catching 12 in 1997 and 10 in 1998. He only appeared in 8 games in 1999 and was traded to the Cowboys in 2000, and Seattle used one of the picks they received to select Shaun Alexander.
TE Jerramy Stevens (2002-2006)
Stevens played college football for Washington and was taken by Seattle with the 28th pick in the first round of the 2002 draft. A solid player, Stevens was a fixture of the Seattle offense during their Super Bowl run and even caught the first Seattle touchdown in Super Bowl history. Stevens’ best season came during the Super Bowl run in 2005, where he caught 45 passes for 554 yards and 5 touchdowns – all career highs.
DT John Randle (2001-2003)
One of the best defenders in the game’s history, Randle chose Seattle to close out his career and made the Pro Bowl in his first year playing for the Seahawks while recording 11 sacks. He played two more seasons, but declining play and young players around him developing led to less and less opportunity for the veteran run stuffer and pass rusher. Randle had just 5.5 sacks in his final season in 2003 and rode off into the sunset just as Seattle began their ascent toward NFL greatness.
CB Byron Maxwell (2011-2014)
Often the forgotten member of the Legion of Boom, Maxwell started his career in Seattle just fighting to stay on the roster and finished his time with the Seahawks starting in back-to-back Super Bowls. Maxwell took the spot opposite Richard Sherman in the 2013 playoffs as well as their Super Bowl victory and retained his spot when Brandon Browner left for New England in the 2014 offseason. A capable corner that could handle the opposing team’s best receiver when teams refused to throw at Sherman in 2014, Maxwell more than held his own as the Seattle defense looked to carry the team to back-to-back Super Bowls.
CB Shawn Springs (1997-2003)
The number three overall pick in the 1997 draft, Springs came to Seattle out of Ohio State with super-sized expectations. Springs became one of the best corners in the league almost immediately, making the Pro Bowl in his second season while tied for 3rd in the NFL with seven interceptions along with two touchdowns, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Springs never made the Pro Bowl again, but he did make an all-pro team the season after leaving Seattle when he signed with his hometown team Washington following the 2003 season. Springs never recaptured his 1998 season magic but retired one of the top corners of his generation.
And with that, let’s continue the official countdown of the greatest Seattle Seahawks of all time. Last week we counted down 20-16. This week we will reveal numbers 15-11.
15. Safety Kenny Easley (1981-1987)
You can count the number of players to have their jersey retired, make the Seattle ring of honor, and the NFL hall of fame on one hand, since there have only been four in the team’s history. Kenny Easley easily earned his way to all three. A bruising safety selected fourth overall in the 1981 draft, Easley rocketed to stardom in his second season, earning his first of 10 combined Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. Two years later, he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and finished with enough interceptions to take the spot in front of Earl Thomas and tied with Richard Sherman on Seattle’s all-time list – not bad company. Injuries and a severe kidney issue derailed Easley’s career, and he was out of the league by 1988. Easley was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and had his jersey number retired in 2017, and was selected to the Seattle Ring of Honor in 2002.
Check out Easley’s highlights here
14. Running Back Curt Warner (1983-1989)
Before Kurt Warner spun the NFL around with his fairy tale career, Curt Warner was punishing NFL defenses with his slashing running style. The number three pick in the infamous 1983 NFL draft that saw seven NFL hall of famers taken in the first round alone, Warner was the second running back taken after Eric Dickerson of the LA Rams. Warner more than lived up to his billing in his rookie season, leading the AFC in rushing and helping the Seahawks advance to the first conference championship game in team history. Warner earned his way to three Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections finishing with at least 1000 rushing yards four times, and was just 15 yards shy in 1987 despite playing in just 12 games in the strike-shortened season. One of the top players at his position during his prime, five full seasons of absorbing hits seemed to take their toll by his seventh season as he recorded just 631 yards in 15 games. Warner was out of Seattle in 1990 and retired by 1991. He was selected to the Seattle Ring of Honor in 1994.
Check out Warner’s highlights here
13. Wide Receiver Doug Baldwin (2011-2018)
Undersized. Lacks burst and quickness. May struggle to make an NFL roster. These were the opinions on Doug Baldwin going into the 2011 NFL draft. Seattle didn’t seem to disagree, as they passed on Baldwin throughout the draft, letting him go undrafted even though he ran a faster 40 time than number four overall pick AJ Green. Baldwin was eventually signed as an undrafted free agent and made the final roster, playing in all 16 games in 2011 while leading the team in receiving yards. Baldwin took an early career backseat to Golden Tate in Russell Wilson’s first two seasons but was the lead receiver again by 2014. Baldwin led the team in receiving in 2011 and 2014-17 and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2015. Baldwin’s 2018 season was marred by an elbow injury, and he was out of the NFL by 2019 after failing a physical. While recording 1000 yards just twice in his career, Baldwin was often the catalyst on offense when Wilson or RB Marshawn Lynch had trouble moving the ball and is going to be remembered as a Seattle fan’s favorite player for years to come. “Angry” Doug Baldwin became a YouTube sensation and the star of many internet memes, even if he doesn’t have the statistics of a lot of number one receivers. Baldwin gave absolutely everything he had on every single play, and that won’t show up on any box score. Baldwin finished his career ranking 3rd in receiving yards on Seattle’s franchise list, as well as second in touchdowns and third in receptions despite playing at least 33 games fewer than the players above him on the chart.
Check out Baldwin’s highlights here
12. Linebacker Lofa Tatupu (2005-2010)
He may have played like he was the top pick in the draft, but Lofa actually wasn’t drafted until the second round. Lofa came to Seattle with a shot to start on day one, and he did just that. A full-time starter his first four seasons, Tatupu didn’t miss a game until his fourth season in the league. He was selected to the Pro Bowl each of his first three seasons and earned first-team All-Pro honors in his third year – officially being recognized as one of the top linebackers in the NFL. Tatupu was only able to play in five games in 2009 due to a torn pectoral muscle and returned to form in 2010, but was not at the same level as before the injury. Despite being under contract through 2015, Tatupu was released in 2011 after he and Seattle’s front office could not agree on a restructured deal despite Tatupu’s head coach in college (Pete Carroll), now the head coach in Seattle. It turned out to be the right move for all involved, as Tatupu retired a few months later after re-injuring his pectoral muscle. Tatupu will go down as one of the best defensive players in Seattle’s history and was a key contributor to their 2005 team that went to the Super Bowl, even with Tatupu as a full-time starter as a rookie as they had ranked as the number seven defense overall and the number five run defense.
Check out Tatupu’s highlights here
11. Defensive Tackle Cortez Kennedy (1990-2000)
In a career that spanned a decade, Kennedy was an 8-time Pro-Bowler, 5-time All-Pro, and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Kennedy played nine complete seasons in his career, missing just nine games total. If the rest of the league had known what a cornerstone player Kennedy would have been, he might have gone #1 overall instead of #3, but Seattle grabbed one of the best players of all time at #3, and they won’t complain. One of the best defensive linemen of all time, Kennedy was a great run stopper and pass rusher on the Seattle defense for 11 years and more than made his mark on the team and the league in general. His best season came in 1992 when he won Defensive Player of the Year with 14 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 92 tackles – all career highs. Seven years later, at the age of 31 in the year 1999, Kennedy still played at a high level, recording 6.5 sacks with 61 tackles, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He retired after the 2000 season, was selected to the Seattle Ring of Honor in 2006, and his jersey was retired in 2012, the same year he was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Check out Kennedy’s highlights here