Kenny Easley will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, making him the fourth Seahawks player to earn that honor after spending his entire career in Seattle along with Steve Largent, Walter Jones and Cortez Kennedy.
But while Easley won't officially be inducted until August 5 in Canton, Ohio, he has felt like a part of that aforementioned group of Hall of Fame Seahawks since an early February morning when he woke up from a particularly vivid dream. While in Houston awaiting to hear his fate as a Hall of Fame finalist, Easley had a dream he saw as being something of an omen.
"The night before the announcement, I had a dream," Easley said on a conference call last week.
Easley, who notes he dreams "fairly vivid every night," had a vision of CenturyLink Field, and in the rafters the retired jerseys of Kennedy, Jones and Largent, as well as the No. 12. Easley, who always wore No. 5 in all sports growing up, realized that he was heading for the Hall of Fame, and with that, in all likelihood, on his way to having his jersey become the fifth to hang from the rafters.
"I woke up in a sweat, because something was telling me that I was going to be the fifth jersey up in the rafters in CenturyLink Field," he said. "It was like 4:30 in the morning, and the dream was so vivid, it was like I was already in the Hall of Fame, it was just a formality for a knock at the door to come the next day."
Indeed, the knock came, with Hall of Fame president David Baker delivering the good news, and now, after a long wait since his seven-year career was cut short by a kidney ailment 30 years ago, Easley is about to earn his sport's highest individual honor.
"It's a great honor, and that dream just sort of made it feel like it was meant to be, so I was really happy about that," Easley said.
That Easley will proudly go into the Hall of Fame as a Seahawk is no small thing, either. Because of how his career ended, with Easley being traded following the 1987 strike-shortened season and never playing again because of health problems, he had a non-existent relationship with the Seahawks for 15 years. But new ownership, along with his children, helped heal old wounds, and eventually Easley and the Seahawks made amends, with Easley going into the Seahawks' Ring of Honor in 2002.
"I would say it was probably two-pronged," Easley said of reconciling with the Seahawks. "First, the team had a new owner in Paul Allen, and second, my children were coming of age where they had never seen me play football. They didn't know much about my career, and I didn't have any pictures around the house of my athletic career. And so when I got the call from (former public relations director) Gary Wright saying that Paul Allen had indicated to him that they couldn't put another player in the Ring of Honor before putting Kenny Easley in there, and if Gary Wright would make a call to me and basically test the waters. I hadn't spoken to anybody in the organization in 15 years. So Gary called me and told me what Paul had said, and so thinking about my children and the fact that they had never seen me play and it had been 15 years, it was the proper time to do it. I'm glad my children got an opportunity to be a part of it and learn about their father and what he had done and how successful he had done it. And the fact that it was new people running the organization and running it very well."
Easley, a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro, had 498 tackles and 32 interceptions in his career, including a team-record 10 interceptions in 1984 when he was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.
Take a look back at some of the best moments from the career of former Seahawks safety Kenny Easley, who was announced as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 on Saturday, February 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas the night before Super Bowl LI.