CANTON, Ohio - Former Seattle Seahawks safety Kenny Easley was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio Saturday night.
The fourth overall pick in the 1981 draft out of UCLA, Easley played for the Seahawks from 1981-1987.
The 1981 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Easley was the league's top overall defender in 1984 when he had a league-leading 10 interceptions, a career high. Easley totaled 32 interceptions in his Seahawks career and earned first-team All-Pro honors three times.
"I thank you for welcoming me into your exclusive club," he said Saturday night.
Easley was traded to the Phoenix Cardinals in April of 1988 in exchange for Kelly Stouffer, but during his physical with the Cardinals he was diagnosed with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, a severe kidney disease that voided the trade.
Easley went on to sue the Seahawks, their team trainers and the team doctors, arguing that an overdose of Advil during treatment of ankle injury caused his kidney failure.
The lawsuit was later settled outside of court and Easley received a new kidney two years later at the University of Washington Medical Center.
After retiring, Easley cut off ties with many in the Seahawks organization. In 2002, Easley got a call from the Seahawks that would ultimately repair their relationship.
“I got the call from Gary Wright (now-retired Seahawks vice president) saying that Paul Allen had indicated to him that they would not put another player in Ring of Honor before they put Kenny Easley in there, and if he, Gary Wright, would make the call for me,” Easley told The Tacoma News Tribune.
On Saturday night, Easley spoke of that call during his Hall of Fame speech:
"Mr. Paul Allen, the terrific owner of the Seattle Seahawks, thank you, sir, for reaching out to Kenny Easley in 2002 after a 15-year isolation from the organization," he said during his speech. "I believe in the old adage that water runs downhill, and thus winning starts at the top. You have run a great organization with a terrific head coach in Pete Carroll."
Easley will be honored by the Seahawks on Oct. 1, when the team hosts the Indianapolis Colts at Centuylink Field on Sunday Night Football.
"How about the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl in 2018?" Easley asked.
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The Associated Press and The Tacoma News Tribune contributed to this post.
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