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Seahawks' Kenny Easley named HOF senior finalist

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Former Seahawks safety Kenny Easley is receiving long overdue interest for the game's highest honor.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Monday that Easley has been selected as a senior finalist.

As Seattle's first defensive superstar, Easley was a shooting star in the 1980s. After earning AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1981, the former UCLA star won AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1983 and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984.

The rare defensive back to combine intimidation, sure tackling and elite ball-hawking skills, Easley's career arc was every bit as promising as that of 49ers Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott before a severely damaged kidney forced him to retire at age 28.

Just how dynamic was Easley? Seahawks blogger Bob Kaupang recently invoked the best traits of the current Legion of Boom stars to describe the five-time Pro Bowler.

"If younger fans want to fully comprehend what Easley was like," Kaupang wrote, "all they have to do is think of a super-safety who possesses the physical intimidation skills of Kam Chancellor combined with the ability of Earl Thomas to roam the back end of a secondary."

Easley is one of the great "what ifs" in NFL history. Had he played as long as Lott, we might be debating which 1980s legend was the most brilliant safety to ever stalk the gridiron.

"Kenny could do what Jack Tatum could do, but he also could do what Mike Haynes could do," Lott told ESPN.com's Mike Sando back in 2002. "He was not only a great hitter and great intimidator on the field, but he was a great athlete.

"Kenny, Lawrence Taylor and those guys changed the game of football on the defensive side because they were not just big hitters. Now, all of the sudden, you were seeing guys who were big hitters, but also as athletic as anyone on offense."

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