Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kenny Easley

Ken Easley
6'3" 206
Strong Safety
Seattle Seahawks
1981 - 1987
7 Seasons
32 Interceptions
5 Pro Bowls
1981 AFC Defensive Rookie Of The Year
1984 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year

Kenneth Mason Easley Jr. was the first round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 1981, and was the fourth player chosen overall. He went to college at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he is a legend. His jersey number is one of just eight to have been retired by the school. He owns the school record for career interceptions with 19, and his 374 tackles still ranks fourth overall. He also ranks eighth on punt returns. While also having returned kickoffs in his collegiate career, UCLA even asked him to punt several times.. Blessed with great speed and a 32-inch vertical jump, the Chicago Bulls drafted him in the tenth round of the 1981 NBA Draft as well.

Easley is the only player ever to be named First Team All-PAC 10 in all four years at college. He was also named to All-American three years, and was the second Bruin to accomplish this. Easley is a member of the Bruins All-Century Football Team, the UCLA Athletic Hall Of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall Of Fame, and the College Football Hall Of Fame.

Seattle started him immediately, and the move paid off handsomely. He started all 14 games he played, intercepting three passes for a career high 155 yards. One was returned for a career long 82 yard touchdown. He also recovered a career high four fumbles. United Press International named him AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The 1982 season in the NFL is most remembered for being shortened due to a players strike. It is also the first season Easley was named to the Pro Bowl after he had four interceptions and the first two sacks of his career. He would be named to the Pro Bowl for the next three seasons as well.

Not only was he awarded Pro Bowl honors over these three years, he was also named First Team All-Pro in each year. No other Seahawk defensive back has done this, and it ranks as the second most in franchise history still today. His four consecutive Pro Bowls was also a team record at the time.

The 1983 season saw Seattle hire Chuck Knox as their head coach. Knox believed in winning games in the trenches, and his offensive philosophy has been dubbed "Ground Chuck" for his propensity to run the ball often. Easley intercepted the ball seven times and had a career best three sacks that season as the Seahawks made the playoffs for the first time ever.

The Seahawks won their first ever playoff game by walloping the Denver Broncos 31-7. Easley contributed a sack and helped stifle the Broncos all game. Seattle rode that momentum into the next week, and came from behind to beat the Miami Dolphins 27-20. Their season ended the next week by losing in the AFC Championship to the Los Angeles Raiders, who eventually won the Super Bowl that year.

Easly had the best season of his career in 1984. He has a career high ten interceptions and two touchdowns, both of which led the NFL. Seattle also asked him to return punts that year, and he had a career high 18 returns for 194 yards. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts.

The Seahawks won 12 games that year. It was the highest win total for them until their 2006 team won 13 and reached the Super Bowl. They got revenge on the Raiders in the first round of the playoffs by winning 13-7. Easley provided a key interception that was returned 26 yards to help the team. Seattle would lose the next week to the Dolphins.

He missed three games the next year, yet had two interceptions and two sacks. Though he missed six games in 1986 because of an ankle injury, he still managed two interceptions and a sack. However, the ankle injury would come back to haunt him later on in his career.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1987 after getting four interceptions. The ankle was still bothering him, and he missed four games. He was also held out of the starting lineup for a game for the first time since his first game in college. Seattle made the playoffs,but lost. It was the last game he ever played again.

Seattle then traded him to the Phoenix Cardinals for the rights to quarterback Kelly Stouffer. Stouffer had been the sixth player overall drafted the season before, but sat out the entire season because he and the Cardinals were unable to agree to terms of a contact.

When Easley arrived for his physical in Phoenix, the Cardinals doctors found that he had a kidney disease. It was later determined his disease stemmed from taking too many Advils when he was attempting to play on his injured ankle, which was what the Seahawks medical staff had been advising him to do over that time.

Easley was forced to retire as a player. He later settled with the team out of court over the Advil fiasco that robbed him of his kidney and playing career. He would undergo a successful kidney transplant in 1990. He was jogging within four months of the surgery, then won a golf tournament within six months.

His 32 interceptions are the fourth most in team history, and his 538 yards returned off interceptions is the third most. The three touchdowns he scored off of interceptions is the second most, and his 11 fumble recoveries is the fifth most by any Seahawks defender. No other defensive back in Seahawks history has gone to the Pro Bowl more than him, and only three other players in team history have more appearances.

Kenny Easley is a member of the Seahawks Ring Of Honor, and is a member of the NFL 1980's All-Decade First Team. He is the only member of the unit to yet be inducted into Canton.

Critics of his induction point to the seven years as not being long enough to be considered worthy. These are critics who truly do not understand the history of the game of football. The Pro Football Hall Of Fame is filled with players who played less seasons. One prime example for the modern day warriors who are oblivious to history is Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears. Sayers lasted seven years as well, yet his final two seasons saw him play just four games total.

Easley, on the other hand, finished his career at Pro Bowl level. He was the not only the best strong safety of the 1980's, but he was the best safety period. The other safety on the 1980's All-Decade First Team is Hall Of Famer Ronnie Lott, who played cornerback from 1981 to 1985 before moving to free safety. Hall Of Fame coach Bill Walsh thought the fact Easley's career was cut short has kept him from his deserved induction and said, "He'd be a Hall of Fame player (had he played longer). Maybe he still is. He was that good."

Well it is easy to see that Kenny Easley easily belongs in Canton. He really was that good.

Notable Players Drafted In 1981 ( * Denotes Hall Of Fame Inductee )

1. George Rogers, RB, New Orleans Saints
2. Lawrence Taylor, OLB, New York Giants *
3. Freeman McNeil, RB, New York Jets
5. E.J. Junior, OLB, Saint Louis Cardinals
7. Hugh Green, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Ronnie Lott, DB, San Francisco 49ers *
11. Keith Van Horne, OT, Chicago Bears
15. Dennis Smith, SS, Denver Broncos
18. Donnell Thompson, DE, Baltimore Colts
19. Brian Holloway, OT, New England Patriots
20. Mark May, OG, Washington Redskins
22. Hanford Dixon, CB, Cleveland Browns
24. James Brooks, RB, San Diego Chargers
25. Bobby Butler, CB, Atlanta Falcons
33. Neil Lomax, QB, Cardinals
34. James Wilder, RB, Buccaneers
37. Chris Collinsworth, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
38. Mike Singletary, MLB, Chicago Bears *
40. Eric Wright, CB, 49ers
41. Joe Delaney, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
47. Tony Collins, RB, Patriots
48. Howie Long, DE, Oakland Raiders *
51. Ricky Jackson, OLB, Saints
56. Andra Franklin, FB, Miami Dolphins
57. Frank Warren, DE, Saints
63. Greg Meisner, NT, Los Angeles Rams
65. Carlton Williamson, SS, 49ers
69. Russ Grimm, OG, Redskins
71. Hoby Brenner, TE, Saints
74. Tim Irwin, OT, Minnesota Vikings
78. Lloyd Burruss, SS, Chiefs
95. Todd Bell, SS, Bears
107. Eric Sievers, TE, Chargers
114. Edwin Bailey, OG, Seattle Seahawks
119. Dexter Manley, DE, Redskins
125. Ken Lanier, OT, Broncos
129. Larry Lee, OG, Detroit Lions
131. Keith Ferguson, DE, Chargers
154. Fulton Walker, DB, Dolphins
156. Bryan Hinkle, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
173. Ron Fellows, DB, Dallas Cowboys
177. Jeff Fisher, DB, Bears ( Notable NFL Coach )
183. David Little, MLB, Steelers
187. Eddie Johnson, MLB, Browns
189. Pete Holohan, TE, Chargers
201. Charlie Brown, WR, Redskins
208. William Judson, CB, Dolphins
210. Wade Wilson, QB, Vikings
212. Lin Dawson, TE, Patriots
221. Billy Ard, OG, Giants
226. Stump Mitchell, RB, Cardinals
231. Darryl Grant, DT, Redskins
241. Robb Riddick, RB, Buffalo Bills
265. Mike Mayock, DB, Steelers ( Notable Football Announcer )
291. Jim C. Jensen, WR, Dolphins
305. Jim Wilks, DE, Saints
314. Clint Didier, TE, Redskins
331. Ray Ellis, SS, Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ed Meador

Ed Meador
5'11" 193
Los Angeles Rams
1959 - 1970
12 Seasons
163 Games Played
46 Interceptions
18 Fumble Recoveries
10 Kicks Blocked
6 Touchdowns
6 Pro Bowls

Eddie Doyle Meador was drafted in the seventh round of the 1959 draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was the 80th player chosen overall.

Meador went to college at Arkansas Tech University, mainly because one of his high school football coaches had went there for a job and championed Meador's cause. He had previously been told been told by Bear Bryant of Texas A&M that he was too small to play college football.

He ended up being co-captain and played running back, defensive back, and returned kicks for the Wonder Boys. He scored 272 career points and rushing for 3,358 yards, which is still second-best in school history. He was on the Associated Press Little All-American team in 1958, and was named the Outstanding Back in the All-Star College Football Game. He was named Arkansas Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1958. Meador is a member of the Arkansas Tech Hall Of Fame, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Helms Athletic Foundation Sports Hall of Fame, and NAIA Collegiate Hall of Fame.

Earning a starting job right away as a cornerback, the rookie picked off three passes for a Rams team that struggled to just two wins under Hall Of Fame coach Sid Gillman. The Associated Press placed him on their All-NFL Second Team for his efforts. The Rams then replaced Gillman at coach with Hall Of Famer Bob Waterfield. Meador made his first Pro Bowl squad after getting four interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown.

He has one interception the next season, and was named First Team All-NFL by The Sporting News. After a solo interception the following season, he had six in 1963. It was his last season as a cornerback, and he was named Second Team All-NFL by the New York Daily News and the National Enterprises Association. The Rams then moved him to the free safety position.

Though he had already established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the league, Meador quickly became a superior safety. He went to the Pro Bowl in 1964, after swiping three balls, and returning six kickoffs for 148 yards. He returned to the Pro Bowl the next year after getting two interceptions. He also ran the ball twice for 35 yards, including scampering 24 yards for a touchdown.

The Rams then hired George Allen in 1966, making it the third Hall Of Famer that coached Meador in his career. Allen soon named him co-captain of the Rams defense. Meador responded with his third straight Pro Bowl season after he had five interceptions.

In the third game of the 1967 season versus the Dallas Cowboys, he intercepted two passes attempts from Don Meredith. He took one ball 30 yards for a score and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Week. He finished the season with a career best eight interceptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Meador also completed the only passing attempt of his career for an 18 yard touchdown, and returned a career high 21 punts. He was named to the Pro Bowl for a fourth straight season.

He went to his last Pro Bowl in 1968 after getting six interceptions, and he was named First Team All-Pro. He also returned 17 punts for a career high 136 yards, and returned a kickoff 20 yards. The 1969 season was another year that he was named First Team All-Pro. He scored two touchdowns off of five interceptions that season. He also was named the NFL Players Association President that year. He was honored with the NFLPA Byron 'Whizzer' White Award and was named NFL Father of the Year. After getting two interceptions in 1970, he retired.

Ed Meador is a member of the 1960's All-Decade Team, and the Rams All-Time Team. He was known by several of his teammates as the "Rams Little Assassin" because of his fierce play on the field. He was also a multi-dimensional athlete who was the holder of place kicks for the Rams. Often he would run or pass on fake field goal attempts.

He still owns five records with the Rams. He has the most interceptions with 46, fumble recoveries with 18, and kicks blocked with ten. He blocked four kicks in one year, and recovered five fumbles in one season. To say he had a nose for the football would be a huge understatement.

It is astonishing that Meador has yet to be inducted into Canton. He has gone to the same amount of Pro Bowls as 15 other defensive backs that are already inducted. He was named the Rams Defensive Back of the Year seven times in his career, which is just another example of his impact. Tackles were not a recorded statistic in his era, but he exceeded 100 tackles in several seasons. He once had 126 tackles in a 14 game season, which is an impressive rate for a free safety. He was fast, quick, tough, and smart.

For all he did on the field, he did even more off the field. He was very active in charities, especially with the Special Olympics. His leadership abilities were seen from his days in college up until the day he retired from the NFL. He had the respect of everyone who encountered him both on and off the field during his playing days. He overcame huge obstacles of being told he couldn't play, then coming from a small college, to start in every game he played in his career. He was a iron man who missed just one game in 12 seasons.

It is time to get Eddie Meador his well deserved respect. You can do your part by visiting his website at :

Notable Players Drafted In 1959 (None are a Canton Inductee Yet)

2. Dick Bass, FB, Los Angelos Rams
3. Bill Stacy, DB, Chicago Cardinals
5. Dave Baker, DB, San Francisco
6. Nick Pietrosante, FB, Detroit
15. J.D. Smith, OT, Philadelphia
17. Bob L. Harrison, LB, San Francisco
19. Mike Rabold, G, Detroit
21. Rich Petitbon, DB, Chicago Bears
22. Buddy Dial, WR, NY Giants
23. Dick Shafrath, OT, Cleveland
25. Bowd Dowler, WR, Green Bay
26. Wray Carlton, RB, Philadelphia
28. Emil Karas, LB, Washington
29. Eddie Dove, DB, San Francisco
34. Joe Morrison, RB, NY Giants
35. Fran O'Brien, OT, Cleveland
41. Monte Clark, DT, San Francisco
44. John Tracey, LB, LA Rams
47. Dave Lloyd, LB, Cleveland
49. Bob Wetoska, OT, Washington
53. John Wooten, G, Cleveland
58. Dick LeBeau, DB, Cleveland Browns
102. Bobby Joe Green, P, San Francisco
119. Bob Zeman, DB, Cleveland
123. Art Powell, WR, Philadelphia
125. Harry Jacobs, LB, Detroit
141. Mike Connelly, C, LA Rams
164. Joe Robb, DE, Chicago Bears
167. Elbert Dubenion, WR, Cleveland
173. Bruce Maher, DB, Detroit
177. Roger LeClerc, LB, Chicago Bears
209. Joe Kapp, QB, Washington
219. Alan Miller, FB, Philadelphia
223. Dave Kocourek, TE, Pittsburgh
242. Dale Memmelaar, G, Chicago Cardinals
249. Donnie Stone, RB, Chicago Bears
250. Jim Fraser, LB, Cleveland
266. Fred Glick, DB, Chicago Cardinals
313. Timmy Brown, RB, Green Bay
319. Charley Tolar, FB, Pittsburgh
331. Ron Hall, DB, Pittsburgh
353. Jim Colclough, WR, Washington