Leon's latest big return

Posted Mar 2, 2011

After setting club records as a kickoff returner in his first season with the Seahawks, Leon Washington has agreed to terms to keep doing it for four more years.

Leon Washington made one big kick return after another for the Seahawks in his first season with the club. Tuesday, he made a big return to the Seahawks by agreeing to a four-year contract.

Washington, 28, said several times late in the season that he would like to continue his career with the Seahawks, who acquired him a draft-day trade from the New York Jets last year despite the fact that he missed much of the 2009 season after needing surgery to place a steel rod in his severely broken right leg.

“They’ve made me feel at home here, so here is where I’d like to stay,” he said prior to the divisional playoff game against the Chicago Bears in January.

Now, that will happen.

Just as Washington made things happen time and again during the 2010 season, when he led the NFL with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and nearly broke a punt return for a score. His efforts earned Washington second team All-Pro honors as a kick returner.

He averaged 25.6 yards on 57 kickoff returns, which ranked eighth in the league and fifth in the NFC. He also averaged 11.3 yards on 22 punts returns, which ranked 11th best in the league and sixth best in the conference.

Washington also ran his way into the record books during his initial season as a Seahawk. His kickoff returns of 101 and 99 yards in the Week 3 win over the San Diego Chargers were the two longest in franchise history. He added a third scoring return in the Week 14 against the San Francisco, giving him seven for his career – which ranks second in league history behind Josh Cribbs (eight), and also made Washington the first player in NFL history to twice return three for scores in the same season. He also did it in 2007 for the Jets.

The elusive and explosive Washington also had career-long 84-yard punt return against the Week 13 win over the Carolina Panthers, which was the sixth longest in Seahawks history.

As good as Washington was, he always went out of his to share the recognition with his blockers.

“That’s my mindset, and that’s our team’s mindset, that every time I touch the ball I can take it all the way,” Washington said the week of the playoff game against the Bears. “Like I’ve said all season, I’m only as good as the guys around me.

“I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to have special teams that really get out and try to score.

Washington also rushed for 100 yards and another TD on 27 carries and caught nine passes as a change-of-pace back to the duo of Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. But in his post-season news conference, coach Pete Carroll said he would like to get Washington more involved in the offense in 2011 now that he has shown he’s fully recovered from his injury.

As for Washington the returner, Carroll offered, “We’ve counted on Leon. When he gets tackles at the 25- or 30-yard line, we’re disappointed because we think he’s going to go (the distance) every time he gets it.”