Class of 2017 Enshrinee
Easley was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1981 draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He is the sixth UCLA Bruin to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame joining Troy Aikman, Tom Fears, Jimmy Johnson, Jonathan Ogden, and Bob Waterfield. Easley is also the seventh member of the 1981 NFL Draft class to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining defensive legends Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Howie Long, Rickey Jackson and offensive guard Russ Grimm.
Easley’s presence on Seattle’s defense was felt immediately during his rookie season in 1981. He racked up three interceptions for a career-high 155 yards, including an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 42-21 win over the Cleveland Browns in the regular season finale. Easley also recovered a career-high four fumbles. Easley capped his rookie season off by being named AFC Rookie of the Year.
On October 29, 1984, Easley amassed a career-high three interceptions in a 24-0 win over the San Diego Chargers. Easley recorded more than one interception in four different games throughout his career and led the league in interceptions in 1984 on his way to AP Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Along with defensive duties, Easley also returned punts for the Seahawks. His most successful season as a punt returner came in 1984 when he racked up 194 yards on 16 punt returns, leading the Seahawks to the AFC Championship game. Easley returned 26 total punts throughout his NFL career for 302 yards.
Despite his shortened career, Easley had a deep impact on the Seahawks and the entire league. He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and earned All-Pro honors in four consecutive seasons from 1982-1985. Easley was also just the second Seattle Seahawk to be named to the 1980’s NFL All-Decade team, joining wide receiver, Steve Largent.
"He doesn’t back down from anything. He always wants the contact, he’s going to make sure you feel him, make sure you know he’s there. He’s a ballhawk. I’ve seen him covering ground, go get the ball, and when he gets the ball he’s trying to score. He’s definitely a very athletic safety from back in the day.”
-Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks strong safety
“From the time Kenny came into the league, he was one of the top one or two safeties in the league...He came in with a splash, and he brought the whole package.”
-Nolan Cromwell, former All-Pro and Pro Bowl safety for the Los Angeles Rams
“Having played against Kenny I can tell you I always thought of him as a great pain, and that’s a compliment from a quarterback...He was very smart. He had great range. Great instincts. He made plays. Big hitter. Big safety and all those things. I knew at the time that he was somebody I had to concern myself with if I was going to be throwing the ball over the middle or even down the sidelines because of his range.”
-Dan Fouts, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1993
"In my pursuit at trying to be the best, I always felt like I was shooting up to his level because he was the standard...Kenny's skills transcended the game...He was a good as there ever was and I mean that right to this day."
-Ronnie Lott, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2000
"I have battles to fight, and I continue to fight them with the same will and fortitude that I fought with on the football field."
-Kenny Easley, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017
“He was an outstanding three-time All American player...Big, fast, physical, athletic. When you saw him play for Seattle you knew you were watching a Hall of Fame player, without doubt."
-Ron Wolf, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2015
“No disrespect to my other teammates, but Kenny might have been one of the better athletes and football players overall that I ever played with...He was smart, physical, and intense. He was the kind of guy you wanted on your team.”
-Dave Krieg, Easley’s teammate with the Seattle Seahawks from 1981-1897
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