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Offensive linemen don’t ask for the credit or applause, but Kevin Mawae put together a career worth celebrating. Before he is enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we’re looking back at the top five moments from his Canton-worthy career.
When: 1996 Season
It’s rare to see a player change positions at all in the NFL, but even more unheard of to have them do it two years into their career.
After two seasons playing right guard for the Seattle Seahawks, Mawae was moved to center for the 1996 season. He would remain at the position for the remainder of his 16-year career and found exponential amounts of success just by moving a few feet on the offensive line.
When: 1999 Season
After a four-year stint in Seattle, Mawae signed with the New York Jets prior to the 1998 season. In his first year with Gang Green, Mawae was the main cog in an offensive line that helped running back Curtis Martin rush for 100 yards in a franchise record eight games, eventually totaling 1,287 rushing yards in a single season.
But it was Mawae’s second year in New York that turned him into an irreplaceable part of the Jets offense. In a year in which the Jets had three different starting quarterbacks, Mawae commanded the offensive line and led Martin to another prolific season — this time setting a then-franchise record of 1,464 rushing yards in a single campaign.
Martin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and claims that he wouldn’t have earned the honor without Mawae paving the holes in front of him for years.
From his first season in 1994 all the way to the end of his run in New York in 2005, Mawae started an immaculate 177 consecutive games.
While this number doesn’t set any records, it points to Mawae’s success and dependability for over a decade of his career. He was performing at the highest level in the sport and was there for almost every single snap, whether pass or run blocking.
The streak came to an end just six games into the 2005 season as Mawae suffered a tricep injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the year.
When: 2006 season
Following the conclusion of the 2005 season, Mawae was cut by the Jets and promptly signed by the Tennessee Titans.
His impact was felt immediately, as Mawae spearheaded an offensive line that set the Titans franchise record for average yards per carry (4.7 ypc) and ranked fifth in the NFL in total rushing with over 2,200 yards.
This season not only proved Mawae’s versality when moving to a completely new system, but also showed that the lineman, now 13 years into his career, still had it.
When: 2009 season
Mawae’s 2009 season was his last in the NFL, but it may be the most prolific one of his career.
While the center will go down as the battering ram in front of Curtis Martin, he also was a main factor in Chris Johnson’s historic 2009 season.
Mawae started all 16 games that year, helping Johnson reach a jaw-dropping 2,006 rushing yards — the sixth highest total for a running back in a single season.
While most player’s final season is a swan song, Mawae’s was one in which he cemented his Hall of Fame status.
On August 3, Kevin Mawae will enter immortality as he finds his place within the walls of the Hall of Fame. Witness history with an Official Ticket Package to 2019 Enshrinement Week from HOF Experiences, featuring single and multi-day packages with exclusive party access and much more.
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