For the love of Leon

Not long after the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team had been announced, the what-about-Leon sentiment started to surface.

That would be Leon Washington, and that would be because he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in his first season with the Seahawks after being obtained last year in a draft-day trade with the New York Jets.

One problem: Washington went off after the voting had been completed, and readers of Seahawks.com already had selected Steve Broussard as the kickoff returner. One Broussard-backing factor: One season does not a 35th Anniversary team selection make.

Broussard, who played with the Seahawks from 1995-98, still ranks first in club history in career kickoff returns (165) and yards (3,900), as well as single-season average (26.9 yards in ’98). He also had a TD return in his final season – a 90-yarder of the opening kickoff in a 24-14 win over the Washington Redskins at the Kingdome.

Washington averaged 25.6 yards on 57 kickoff returns last season, when he basically won the Week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field with scoring returns of 101 and 99 yards and later had a 92-yarder in a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco.

Washington’s time obviously will come. In one season, he broke the game, season and career records for scoring returns – which had been one, across the board. His 253 return yards against the Chargers broke the single-game record that had been held by Maurice Morris (231), and his 63.3-yard average in that game obliterated the previous record of 42.8 yards by Charlie Rogers. Washington also produced 1,461 yards for the season – roughly half the career total of 2,843 by Morris, who ranks third behind Broussard (3,900) and Rogers (3,214); and third on the single-season list behind Josh Wilson (1,753) and Rogers (1,629).

It was all after the fact, however. Or the voting. So Broussard is the man, and his story is the 17th in a series profiling the players on the reader-selected team.

But here’s a look at how Washington’s one-season efforts stack up in franchise history, and how he’s on course to likely displace Broussard on the next anniversary team:

 

Most kickoff returns, season

Player (year) – No.

Josh Wilson (2008) – 69

Charlie Rogers (2000) – 66

Josh Scobey (2005) – 59

Leon Washington (2010) – 57

 

Most kickoff returns, game

Player (year) – No.

Bobby Joe Edmonds (1987) – 8

Leon Washington (2010) – 7

Note: Washington did it twice, joining 11 other players.

 

Most yards gained, season

Player (year) – Yds.

Josh Wilson (2008)- 1,753

Charlie Rogers (2000) – 1,629

Leon Washington (2010) – 1,461

 

Most yards gained, game

Player (year) – Yds.

Leon Washington (2010) – 253

Maurice Morris (2002) – 231

Leon Washington (2010) – 222

 

Longest kickoff return

Player (year) – Yds.

Leon Washington (2010) – 101

Leon Washington (2010) – 99

James Jefferson (1989) – 97

Maurice Morris (2002) – 97

 

Highest average, career

(minimum 50 returns)

Player (years) – Avg.

Josh Wilson (2007-08) – 25.8

Leon Washington (2010-present) – 25.6

Charlie Rogers (1999-2001) – 23.9

 

Highest average, season

Player (year) – Avg.

Steve Broussard (1998) – 26.9

Charlie Rogers (1999) – 25.8

Leon Washington (2010) – 25.6

 

Highest average, game

(minimum four returns)

Player (year) – Avg.

Leon Washington (2010) – 63.3

Charlie Rogers (2000) – 42.8

Chris Warren (1990) – 36.7


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