Catching up with: Dan Doornink

Posted Oct 20, 2012

Dan Doornink was a local-boy-makes-good story for seven seasons with the Seahawks, and no chapter in that story was better than the December afternoon in 1984 when he tormented the Raiders at the Kingdome.

What he did: Dan Doornink was born in Yakima, raised in Wapato and went to Washington State University. But he didn’t come to the Seahawks until 1979 after playing his rookie season with the New York Giants, who had selected him in the seventh round of the 1978 NFL Draft. In seven seasons, he played in 92 games and started 44 at running back and fullback. In ’79, he finished second on the team in rushing (500 yards) and receiving (54 catches). He did it again in the strike-shortened 1982 season, with 178 rushing yards and 22 receptions. But Doornink’s most-memorable moment came in a 1984 wild-card playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders at the Kingdome. He carried 29 times for 126 yards as the Seahawks won 13-7, and did it by repeatedly running the same play – “Check with me, 34 and 35.”

“After we had run the same play about 30 times, I was in my stance and I was looking at Howie,” Doornink said years later – referring to Howie Long, the Raiders’ All-Pro defensive end. “Howie gave me this look, as if to say, ‘You’re not going to run that same play again?’ I winked at Howie and shook my head, ‘Yep, same play.’ ”

Asked about the late December afternoon in ’84, it’s Long who now shakes his head.

“I remember turning to (linebacker) Matt Millen and I said, ‘Dan Doornink.’ And I’ve said it probably 300 times since I retired: ‘Dan Doornink.’ He’s a dentist. Well, you tell that S.O.B. he gives me a stomachache.”  

What he’s doing: Sorry, Howie, but Doornink actually is an internist in Yakima, and has been for 22 years. So perhaps he could help with that stomachache that has lingered for decades. Doornink, now 56, and his wife, Sharon, have four children – Heidi, Danielle, Tyler and Grace.


If I could have dinner with anyone – living or dead – it would be: “Ronald Reagan.”

Must-see TV: “We don’t watch much TV. We got rid of our cable about a year and a half ago, because we were watching too much TV.”

The best book I’ve ever read: “My Bible.”


My best memory as a Seahawk: “When we beat the Raiders in the playoffs. The Howie Long story. It’s true, those Raiders still remember that. And it still burns them that we won that game, because nobody gave us a chance.”

Something most people don’t know about me: “I don’t like vegetables.”

If I could relive one day in my life: “My wedding day. We’ve been married 34 years. We’d been dating for going on five years. Then I got drafted by the Giants, so I went to training camp and when I made the team – when they made the announcements on Monday – I called her up and said, ‘I made the team.’ So she flew out on Wednesday and got the wedding arrangements made on Thursday. We got the wedding license on Friday. They let me off work on Monday to be married. We had our honeymoon on Tuesday. Then I went back to work on Wednesday and I scored a touchdown against the Cowboys that Sunday on my first carry in the NFL.”