Kenny Easley

Infobox NFLretired

birthdate=birth date and age|1959|1|15
Chesapeake, Virginia
* Seattle Seahawks (1981-1987)
stat2label=INT yards
* 5x Pro Bowl selection (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987)
* NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
* 1984 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Kenny Mason Easley Jr. (born January 15, 1959) is a former American football strong safety who played seven seasons for the Seattle Seahawks from 1981 to 1987 in the National Football League. He is considered as one of the greatest Seahawks players of all-time and one of the greatest safeties in NFL history. [ 'The most talented Seahawk' by Mike Sando, Tacoma The News Tribune, October 11, 2002] Retrieved April 22, 2006]

Easley played college football at UCLA and was drafted in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft. In 1984 Easley was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He was a 4-time All-Pro selection and was elected to the Pro Bowl five times in his career. Easley's career ended after the 1987 season after being diagnosed with severe kidney disease. [ SPORTS PEOPLE; Easley Plans to Retire] New York Times, May 21, 1988, Retrieved July 22, 2006]

In 1998, was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

College career

Easley was born in Chesapeake, Virginia where he attended Oscar F. Smith High School there and was named All-State and All-American. [ Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Kenny Easley] Retrieved July 22, 2006] He played college football at UCLA from 1977 to 1980, where he finished his college career with a school-record nineteen interceptions and 324 tackles. [ College Football News 100 Greatest Players of All-Time #81 Kenny Easley] Retrieved July 22, 2006.] He was a three-time consensus All-American selection, a four time All-Pacific 10 Conference selection and finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1980. His jersey number five was retired by the school, and in 1991, Easley was elected to the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

Easley was also drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the tenth round of the 1981 NBA Draft but didn't play. [ 1981 NBA Draft results] Retrieved July 22, 2006. ]

Pro career

Easley was drafted as the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Seahawks where he started in safety as a rookie. He earned AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors that season when he recorded three interceptions for 155 yards and one touchdown. In 1983, Easley was selected as AFC Defensive Player of the Year and recorded seven interceptions. [ Say It Ain't So Seattle Seahawks] Retrieved July 22, 2006.] In 1984, Easley led the National Football League in interceptions with ten, returning two of them for touchdowns and was named as NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Afterwards he signed a five-year contract with the Seahawks which made him one of the highest paid defensive players in the league. [ Easley Gets Big Pact] New York Times, January 23, 1985 Retrieved July 22, 2006. ] He missed part of the 1986 season for ankle surgery. [ Comings and Goings] New York Times, , November 21, 1986 Retrieved July 22, 2006.]

Prior to the 1988 season, the Seahawks traded Easley to the Phoenix Cardinals for quarterback Kelly Stouffer. [ Retirement Near] New York Times, April 28, 1988, Retrieved July 22, 2006. ] There he was diagnosed with a kidney disease and failed the physical. The trade was soon canceled and Easley announced his retirement a few months later. He filed a lawsuit against the Seahawks, the team trainer, and the team doctors saying that an overdose of Advil for the ankle injury a few years earlier caused his kidney to fail, it was later settled out of court. [ Care by Team Doctors Raises Conflict Issue] New York Times, July 28, 2002, Retrieved July 22, 2006. ] He received a new kidney two years later. [ New Kidney for Easley] New York Times, July 9, 1990, Retrieved July 22, 2006. ]

In his seven-year career, Easley recorded 32 interceptions for 538 yards and three touchdowns, while also returning 27 punts for 302 yards. In 2002 Easley was elected to the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor. He was also selected for the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.

Up until 2003 Easley was part-owner of a now defunct semi-pro football team, the Norfolk Nighthawks. He is currently a business entrepreneur. [ Where Are They Now? The 1984 Seattle Seahawks] Retrieved July 22, 2006. ]


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