I watched with great anticipation last night as the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced. I usually don't have such interest but this year it was thought that former Seahawks safety Kenny "The Enforcer" Easley would get the approval of the Seniors Committee. Kenny, only six months after undergoing triple bypass surgery, received the news of his induction yesterday afternoon from Hall of Fame president Dave Baker. He the lone senior finalist nominated by the nine-member Seniors committee.
Easley, one of my favorite players during my youth, saw his career end abruptly and prematurely due to a kidney ailment that led to him undergoing a transplant. Kenny was named a First Team All-Pro three times, was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1984) and collected 32 interceptions during his 7 year career ('81-'87). His 89 games played were the fewest for a HOF'er since Gayle Sayers was elected after only 68 games played. He was also named to the All-Decade team for the '80s and was the final member of that team to be elected into the Hall.
The 58 year-old Easley had all but given up on the thought of being elected to the Hall after being passed up previously and described his reaction to the news of being nominated last summer as being "flabbergasted." The Senior Committee considers only players who have been out of the game for 25 years. Once nominated by them, Kenny needed 80% the 48-member Hall of Fame voting committee for his election.
This year's induction ceremony takes place on August 5th- which just so happens to be my birthday. I guess I know what I'll be doing on my birthday this year.
Congratulations, Mr. Easley. It's been a long time coming and is well deserved!