On this date: Shaun Alexander follows big season by signing big contract

Shaun Alexander

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on March 6:

1975: John Thompson is named the team’s first general manager. Thompson had been executive director of the NFL Management Council.

1997: Bennie Blades, a Pro Bowl safety from the Lions, signs with the Seahawks – joining his younger brother, Brian, who would rank No. 2 on the team’s all-time reception list by the time he retired after the 1998 season. Bennie played in 10 games in ’97 before an injury forced him to retire.

1998: Brian Habib, a guard on the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship team, agrees to sign with the Seahawks in free agency. Habib, who played at the University of Washington, started all 32 games in two seasons with the Seahawks.

2006: Shaun Alexander is re-signed to a multiyear contract, after being voted league MVP and leading the NFL in rushing (1,880 yards) and touchdowns (28) in 2005.


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On this date: Another Blades is signed

A look at the memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on March 6:

1975: John Thompson is named the team’s first general manager. Thompson had been executive director of the NFL Management Council.

1997: Bennie Blades, a Pro Bowl safety from the Lions, signs with the Seahawks – where he joins his younger brother, Brian, who would rank No. 2 on the team’s all-time reception list by the time he retired after the 1998 season. Bennie starts nine games for the Seahawks before an injury ends his career.

1998: Brian Habib, a guard on the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship team, agrees to sign with the Seahawks in free agency.

2006: Shaun Alexander is re-signed to a multiyear contract, after being voted league MVP and leading the league in rushing and touchdowns in 2005.


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Double-edged Blades

Brian and Bennie Blades had combined to play 18 NFL seasons and in 255 games. But the brothers who had been teammates at Piper High School in Fort Lauderdale and the University of Miami never had played together in the pros.

Until 1997, that is.

They were finally reunited when the Seahawks signed Bennie, who spent his first nine seasons with the Detroit Lions – the team that had selected the strong safety with the third pick in the 1988 draft. That’s the same year the Seahawks drafted Brian, a wide receiver, in the second round.

Bennie had pushed for this family reunion sooner.

“Bennie was trying to get me to come to Detroit after my first contract was up,” said Brian, who is older (by 13 months) but was always smaller (5-11, 190) than Bennie (6-foot, 221).

“But I told him, ‘No, I’m going to stay put, because I like it out here.’ ”

So it was up to Bennie to join Brian in Seattle.

“Once it got to the point where he was unwelcome in Detroit, it was a blessing that we had the opportunity to play at least one year together,” Brian said.

In the process, they set an unofficial club record: The only brothers to ever play for the Seahawks.

It didn’t last long, however, as a back injury ended Bennie’s time with the Seahawks – and in the NFL – after nine games.

As Bennie said during the 1998 offseason, “Some days I think, ‘Yeah, I can be a football player again.’ But other days, I’m like, ‘To hell with this. Do something else.’ ”

But a little time together was better than no time together.

“We had fun,” Brian said. “It was a blessing to have both of us on the same team and have the opportunity to play together in the NFL.”

Brian’s story is the 19th in an on-going series of articles about the 28 players readers of Seahawks.com voted to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team.

And he made it in impressive fashion. Sure, Blades finished second in the balloting for the wide receivers – behind Steve Largent, who got more votes than anyone else on the team (5,004). But only four others received more votes than the 3,487 generated by Blades: defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (4,172), left tackle Walter Jones (4,065), defensive end Jacob Green (3,990) and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (3,539).


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