The Pacific Northwest largely missed out on the rich history of the NFL, not having a franchise in Seattle until 1976. To put that in perspective; the NFL was officially founded in 1920 and the first Super Bowl was played in 1966 (though not officially named the “Super Bowl” until 1968). So, it’s fair to say the Seattle Seahawks are a relatively new organization in the grand scheme of things. Despite its newbie status in the league, there have been a plethora of superstars that have worn Seahawk Blue over the past several decades. This list represents the best of those players.
5. Matt Hasselbeck QB: Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1998, Hasselbeck followed Coach Mike Holmgren to Seattle in 2001 and became the full-time starter in 2003. All he did after that was set every major franchise quarterback record as well as leading Seattle to their only Super bowl appearance in 2005. Hasselbeck left Seattle after 10 season with the organization following the 2010 season. He was a 3-time Pro Bowler and leaves Russell Wilson with some big shoes to fill.
4. Mack Strong FB: There have been a lot of great running backs to play in Seattle; none have endeared themselves to the fan base quite like Mack Strong. Along with having perhaps the greatest football name of all time, Strong was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and was widely regarded as one of the greatest fullbacks in the NFL throughout his career. Strong was the lead blocker for Shaun Alexander during his MVP season in 2005, but also blocked for Chris Warren and Ricky Watters during their 1,000 yard seasons with the club. Strong played his entire career (15 seasons) with the Seahawks and was voted to their 35th anniversary team in 2010.
3. Cortez Kennedy DT: Over a decade of dominance; that is the legacy that Cortez Kennedy left. A first round draft pick out of the University of Miami, Kennedy became an 8 time Pro Bowl selection and a 5 time All-Pro. To this day, he is the single most dominant force the Seahawks defensive line has ever seen. Kennedy amassed 58 sacks in his career with the club and over 600 tackles. A Seahawks Ring of Honor member, Cortez Kennedy was voted the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. To this day, he is the best defensive lineman to ever play in the Pacific Northwest. Kennedy’s number 96 was retired in 2012 by the Seahawks.
2. Steve Largent WR: Perhaps the most well-known Seahawk of all time, Steve Largent retired with nearly every receiving record the NFL had to offer. Though his career has been over for two decades, Largent is still the first person most people think of when they think of the Seattle Seahawks. A 7 time Pro Bowler and 8 time All-Pro selection, Largent was the face of the franchise throughout his 13 years with the club. While he wasn’t the fastest receiver in the league, he epitomized the term work-ethic and had perhaps the surest hands the NFL has ever seen. A member of the Seahawks Ring of Honor, Largent was voted to Seattle’s All-Decade Team (1980’s), he was a member of their 35th Anniversary Team (2010), and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. Steve Largent was the first player to ever have his number (80) retired by Seattle in 1992.
1. Walter Jones OT: Jones may be the greatest left tackle to ever play the game of football. Drafted by Seattle with the 6th overall pick of the 1997 draft out of Florida State University, Jones made an immediate impact for the Seahawks finishing his rookie year as a First Team All-Rookie squad member.
Jones would go on to dominate the NFL for 13 seasons, being voted a Pro Bowler 9 times and an All-Pro 7 times. He displayed the perfect mix of finesse and brute force from the left tackle position which was unrivaled by his competitors. Jones was eventually voted to the NFL’s All-Decade Team (2000’s) for his stellar play. In 13 years, he gave up only 23 sacks in his career including playoffs and was penalized for holding just 9 times. Jones became only the second player in franchise history to have his number (71) retired and was soon elected to the Seahawks Ring of Honor. He is a member of the Seahawks 35th Anniversary Team (2010) and will surely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Walter Jones will go down in history as undoubtedly, the best player to ever play for the Seattle Seahawks.