Kevin Mawae New York Jets & Seattle Seahawks & Tennessee Titans

“I just loved playing football. I started playing when I was eight years old, and my goal was to be an NFL player, there was no ‘Plan B’ for me. And, not because I didn’t have a plan, or have other options, I just didn’t want to do anything else.”

Kevin Mawae joined the Seattle Seahawks in 1994 as the team’s second round draft pick (36th overall). Over the next 16 seasons, Mawae evolved into one of the greatest centers in the league.

Mawae spent his first two seasons with the Seahawks as a right guard before switching exclusively to the center position for the remainder of his career. After four seasons in Seattle, Mawae signed with the New York Jets. He exhibited tremendous athleticism and was a teammate that could always be relied upon to perform his duties at a high level.

Mawae, in his first season with the Jets, helped the team earn a division title and a berth in the AFC championship game. During his years in New York, he helped pave the way for seven of Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin’s ten 1,000-yards seasons. After eight seasons with the Jets, Mawae suffered a torn tricep in his left arm – the first major injury of his professional career. After he recovered, Mawae joined the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent in 2006.

During his tenure with the Titans, Mawae helped set a franchise benchmark in 2008 with an NFL-low (tied) 12 sacks allowed which included not allowing a sack through five consecutive games.

Mawae consistently opened huge holes for running backs as evidenced by a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of his 16 pro seasons. The list of 1,000-yard ground gainers included Chris Warren (twice) in Seattle; Curtis Martin (seven times) with the Jets; and Travis Henry (once), LenDale White (once) and Chris Johnson (twice) with the Titans. Mawae’s career was punctuated by his final season when he led the way for Johnson’s 2,000-yard season. For his efforts, the veteran center earned one last Pro Bowl trip.

In all, Mawae received eight Pro Bowl nods, was named first-team All-Pro six times, All-AFC five times, and selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.