Look at his picture ladies and gentlemen. His name is not spoken as much around these parts anymore. It hurts too bad.
His name is Steve Hutchinson. He arguably is the best left guard in football...possible the best lineman in the national football league.
To understand his importance we need to back up and give some history.
Picture this...summer of 04. Walter Jones has finally been given his money from the organization for being one of the best left tackles in the league. Hassleback was given his money the year before. Things are starting to look up for the "12th man" in Seattle. Now all we need to do is lock up our running back and the other lineman on the left side and we should be in business for years to come.
Every clip or highlight you have ever seen that makes your team look like GODS, or your player just that much faster, that much stronger, etc has been with the Seattle Seahawks in it looking quite foolish.
Yet there we were and the 30 years of frustration could all have dissipated in a 60 minute game. Well... we all know how that ended. (We still have a bitter taste in our mouths from the officiating).
With the 06-07 year on the horizon we, like most years are full of optimism. We are (at the time) controlling our division. The Rams were on the decline. San Fran was a joke. The cardinals... THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE! Our GM Tim Ruskell was doing such an excellent job at bringing in players who could contribute (instead of overpriced and over the hill has beens). As well as drafting quite nicely. Only one problem. With whom should we SHOW THE MONEY to and who do we dare risk letting go?
Sean Alexander, who for all intents and purposes (even to this day) was the best running back Seattle has ever known. Now he wasn't the hardest runner, but if you gave him an alley, and on the left side of the line they did that A LOT, he was a thing of beauty to watch in the open field. He had just been named the offensive MVP and Alexander also won his first NFL rushing title and 1,880 rushing yards.
The problem is the age old question. What came first? Well I'm here to tell ya folks. The answer is the egg! Or is it the chicken? In this and in most scenarios it's the LINEMAN!
Tim paid Alexander his money and put a "transitional" tag on the Hutch. Then...something went horribly wrong. I still have no ideal wtf a transitional tag is, but what i do know is it aint good!
Some smart geeky lawyer read the fine print and introduced the "poison pill" to the world. See what had happened was(sorry, couldn't resist lol) with the poison pill is the Minnesota Vikings found a loop hole in the transitional tag and said that they would make Steve Hutchinson the highest paid Guard EVER! For us to keep him we would need to give him even more money than left tackle Walter Jones. This is of course blasphemous! Guards don't deserve left tackle money! They don't protect the qb's blind side the way a LT would.
Continuing on with the story we could either pay Hutch is money and have the best left side in the NFL (which may or may not have insulted Walter Jones who had been franchised about 3 years straight, who never made it to training camp, and just dominated and ended up in Hawaii every year in the pro bowl) or do what they did. Become little boys in peeing contest with someone with a bigger Johnson!
We did the same thing to them by putting a "transition" tag on Nate Burelson. Now I played football with his older brother Albert at the HOUSE. (James A. Garfield BULLDOGS! We affectionately called it the house...among other things. His whole family are athletes. It was in someways good for the hometown kid to come home. But this was not a very smart move. Not at all.
We essentially swapped players and Hutch teamed along with Bryant McKinnie proved to be another formidable trio on the left side (adding Matt Birk the Pro Bowl center). The Proof being Chester Taylor getting a 1,000 yards with no real qb or receivers that year.
The year after that the world was introduced to Adrian Peterson. If healthy he may shatter all the records as a running back for the vikings.
The Seattle Seahawks on the other hand...Nate is a great punt returner when healthy, but will never amount to anything other than a slot receiver in the west coast offense he was in under Head Coach Mike Holmgren. Sean Alexander is out of football. (Which is sad because given the correct situation he can still be of use) Walter Jones is not the same stud he once was. For the first time in about 6 years the Hawks did not reach the playoffs. The line is abysmal. Hasslebacks' back is shot! Too boot it's another end of an era with soon to be Hall of Fame head coach Mike Holmgren stepping down...at least from here and this situation.
Once again ladies and gentlemen. Take a good look at that picture. The one who got away. The chicken...or was that the egg?