Seattle Seahawks: 10 Hall of Fame Candidates Who Could Play for Seattle in 2011
Jerry Rice. Franco Harris. Warren Moon. Carl Eller. John Randle. What do they have in common? Besides the bronze busts and gold jackets that come with being members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, all five of them also spent brief and forgettable stints of their decorated careers playing for the Seattle Seahawks.
As a relatively young franchise tucked away in a not-quite-major TV market and having made just one Super Bowl appearance (a loss in a boring game), it's understandable that the Seahawks would have a short list of "true" Hall of Famers.
Walter Jones will get his spot in a few years, Cortez Kennedy and Shaun Alexander have decent shots at making it someday, but to date, all we've got is Steve Largent.
Next season, however, don't be surprised if Seattle has multiple future Hall of Famers on the roster.
The Seahawks are in a unique position going into 2011: A rebuilding team that also has a legitimate chance to win its division and make a return trip to the playoffs.
So while bringing in young talent for the future is a priority for head coach Pete Carroll and his front-office crew, so is the acquisition of veterans who know how to win.
Here are 10 Hall of Fame candidates who could realistically play for the Seahawks next season:
10. Trevor Pryce, DE/DT
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Pryce has racked up 91 sacks as a pro, more than Hall of Fame D-linemen Howie Long and Randy White, to name a couple. Pryce also has four Pro Bowl selections to his name, three All-Pro nods, and two Super Bowl rings.
Seattle fans know what Pryce can do, too: He routinely wreaked havoc against the Seahawks during his prime years with the Broncos.
The Hall of Fame is honestly a long shot, as are his chances of being a starter next season, but Pryce can contribute in the right situation.
9. Matt Light, OT
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Similar to Mike Webster on the '70s Steelers and Larry Allen on the '90s Cowboys, Light is the O-lineman most closely associated with an NFL dynasty. He made three Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls with the '00s Patriots as their starting left tackle.
Light is a free agent this summer, and while Seattle already has its left tackle of the future in Russell Okung, the 33-year-old Light could be an affordable starter on the right side or a veteran backup to mentor Okung and incoming rookie tackle James Carpenter.
8. Chad Ochocinco, WR
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Ocho's statistical body of work—751 catches, 10,783 yards and 66 touchdowns—either matches or outshines Hall of Fame wideouts such as Michael Irvin, Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry and Fred Biletnikoff.
The Seahawks need a downfield playmaker to complement possession receiver Mike Williams, and Ochocinco is reportedly on the trading block in Cincinnati.
You know who wants to see Ochocinco on the Seahawks more than anybody? Second-year tight end Anthony McCoy, who currently wears No. 85 for Seattle. He's in line for a nice payday if Chad wants his number.
7. Matt Leinart, QB
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What, you've never heard of the College Football Hall of Fame?
I cheated with that one, but in all seriousness, Leinart will be a logical consideration for the Seahawks when they resume their quarterback search after the NFL lockout is over.
Leinart won a Heisman Trophy and a national championship playing for Pete Carroll at USC, and no coach would be better suited to resurrect his so-far mediocre NFL career.
If Carroll can do it for former Trojans WR Mike Williams, he might be able (and eager) to do it for his former superstar quarterback.
6. Olin Kreutz, C
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There's a starting spot available in the middle of Seattle's offensive line, and Kreutz might be the right man to take it. The six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro is no stranger to the city—he played his college ball at the University of Washington—and is a free agent this summer at 34 years old.
Kreutz was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s, although being considered one of the best of his era may not be enough to get into the Hall of Fame at an often-overlooked position.
5. Adam Vinatieri, K
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Jan Stenerud is the only full-time kicker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Lou Groza and George Blanda each pulled double-duty as an offensive lineman and quarterback, respectively.)
Vinatieri should pass Stenerud in career field goals and total points next season, he's crushing Jan in field goal percentage (82 to 66 percent), and Vinatieri is the most accomplished clutch kicker in league history, boasting four Super Bowl rings as supporting evidence.
The 38-year-old Vinatieri is a free agent, and Seattle's incumbent kicker Olindo Mare is expendable.
4. Terrell Owens, WR
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You already know the question marks that come with adding T.O. to your team. Is he too old? (He's 37 now.) Is he a bad teammate? (Coincidence or not, after one year with T.O., Carson Palmer decided he'd rather retire than return to that locker room.) Is he too much of a distraction?
Now comes one more: Durability.
T.O. still looks like the football player you would build in God's factory, but this summer he had surgery on a torn ACL, putting his health in doubt for any team interested in signing the free agent.
Seattle has a need at receiver, though, and the future Hall of Famer might be the answer. Owens ranks fifth in NFL history in receptions, second in receiving yards, and second in receiving touchdowns.
Last season with the Bengals, he racked up more catches (72) and yards (983) than any Seahawks receiver, and caught more than two times as many touchdowns (9).
3. Randy Moss, WR
Moss should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The talent has never been in doubt—he is arguably the most gifted receiver ever to play the game—and the numbers place him among legends.
Moss ranks eighth all-time in receptions, fifth in receiving yards, second in receiving touchdowns, and fifth in total touchdowns.
What will keep Moss out of Canton his first few years of eligibility is everything else: The perception of laziness, the reality of some bad public-relations moves, the "WTF" interviews and press conferences, and the f***-if-I-care attitude he exuded throughout.
If the right coach and teammates get him excited to play next season, however, Moss is still a dangerous offensive weapon. And the Seahawks need weapons.
2. Donovan McNabb, QB
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In the midst of what has been a career full of harsh scrutiny and biting criticism literally since Day 1—when he was booed by Philly fans at the NFL Draft—McNabb has defiantly put together a Hall of Fame resume.
He ranks in the NFL's top 15 all-time in passing completions, passing yards, and rushing yards by a quarterback. He's also 23rd all-time in passing touchdowns, he won NFC Offensive Player of the Year in '04, and he has six Pro Bowl appearances to go with one Super Bowl appearance.
McNabb can still play at 34, but the Redskins will undoubtedly try to trade him. Considering that the only QB the Seahawks have under contract is career backup Charlie Whitehurst, the Pacific Northwest could be McNabb's next home.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB
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The best cornerback in the business for the last 3-4 years, Asomugha has been like the IRS for quarterbacks ever since his eight-interception breakout season in 2006—everybody wants to avoid him.
Asomugha is a free agent and should be the most expensive player on the market, but he's worth it to whoever pays the price.
For the Seahawks, their 27th-ranked pass defense would get an automatic upgrade with Asomugha shutting down half of the field.