On this date

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Oct. 7:

2007: Fullback Mack Strong, who is playing in his 201st game for the Seahawks, suffers a career-ending neck injury in a loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.


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On this date

A look at the memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Sept. 11:

1971: Mack Strong, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and the fullback on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team, was born in Columbus, Ga.

1983 – The Seahawks win their first game under coach Chuck Knox, 17-10 over the New York Jets, as Curt Warner rushes for 128 yards on 24 carries and the team sets a club record with 57 rushing attempts. And you wonder why they called Knox’s offense Ground Chuck.

1994 – Rick Mirer passes for three touchdowns and Chris Warren scored two touchdowns (one receiving and one rushing) as the Seahawks beat the Raiders 38-9 in Los Angeles.


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On his terms

One of the best things about Robbie Tobeck’s 14-year NFL career is the way it ended: On his terms.

The veteran center not only knew it was time to walk away; he was prepared to step into the next phase of his life. Tobeck, who played his final seven seasons with the Seahawks (2000-06), is a partner in Griffin MacLean Insurance, hosting a Saturday morning fishing show on 710 ESPN and enjoying watching his sons play the sport that was such a large part of his life for so long.

“I knew I was done. I knew it was time,” said Tobeck, who has lost 40 pounds. “I worked at Griffin MacLean in the offseason when I played. After I announced my retirement (following the 2006 playoff loss to the Bears in Chicago), I went to Costa Rica and fished for 10 days. Then I came back and I was in the office that Monday.

“That was the transition for me. It was just boom-boom and here I was.”  

Tobeck is one of nine players voted to the 35th Anniversary team who was not on the 25th Anniversary unit – most of obvious reasons. His story is the latest profile of the players the readers of Seahawks.com voted to the 35th Anniversary team.

Here’s a what-a-difference-10-years-can-make look at the changes from the 25th Anniversary team that was selected by the Seattle P-I in 2000, starting with Tobeck:

Center: Tobeck over Blair Bush. Tobeck didn’t join the Seahawks until 2000. He is the only center in team history to play in the Pro Bowl (2005) and was the anchor in the middle of the line on the 2003-06 teams that won three consecutive NFC West titles and advanced to the playoffs four years in a row.

Guard: Steve Hutchinson over Edwin Bailey. Hutchinson was not drafted until 2001 and played only five seasons, making 68 starts – compared to 11 seasons and 120 starts for Bailey. But Hutchinson was voted to three Pro Bowls, and is the only guard in team history to play in the Pro Bowl.

Tackle: Howard Ballard over Mike Wilson. Ballard was a Plan B free agent addition in 1994 and started 74 games in five seasons. Wilson started 60 games in four seasons (1986-89), but on better teams. Ballard was not the same player who had been a mainstay on the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl teams from 1990-93, but he got 982 votes in finishing second to Walter Jones (4,065) among the tackles – while Wilson got only 46 votes to finish tied for ninth in the 11-tackle field.

 

Tight end: John Carlson over Mike Tice. Carlson was a second-round draft choice in 2008 and became the first rookie to lead the team in receptions since Steve Largent in 1976. Still, the voting at this spot was the tightest on the 35th Anniversary team – 1,898 for Carlson to 1,880 for Tice, who started 83 games from 1981-88 and in 1990-91.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck over Dave Krieg. Hasselbeck was obtained in a 2001 trade with the Green Bay Packers, and has since broken Krieg’s club records for career attempts, completions and passing yards. Hasselbeck has been voted to three Pro Bowls. Krieg also went to the Pro Bowl three times, and had a 70-49 record as a starter (.588 winning percentage) – compared to 69-62 (.527) for Hasselbeck.

Running back: Shaun Alexander over Curt Warner. Alexander was a first-round draft choice in 2000, but didn’t become the fulltime starter until 2002. He went on to obliterate the club records for rushing yards (9,429) and rushing touchdowns (100). Alexander also became the first Seahawk to be voted league MVP in 2005, when he led the NFL in rushing and scored a then-league record 28 touchdowns.

Fullback: Mack Strong over John L. Williams. Strong joined the Seahawks in 1993, but Williams was just so productive during his eight-season stay – 4,579 rushing yards, No. 4 in club history; and 471 receptions, No. 3 all-time. Williams went to the Pro Bowl in 1990 and ’91, while Strong went in 2005 and ’06. Strong’s best seasons came after the 25th Anniversary team was selected.

Middle linebacker: Lofa Tatupu over Keith Butler. Tatupu was a second-round draft choice in 2005. While Butler ranks No. 2 all-time with 813 tackles, Tatupu is the only player to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons and he also was voted to three Pro Bowls.

Punt returner: Nate Burleson over Bobby Joe Edmonds. Burleson was signed as a restricted free agent in 2006. He actually volunteered for punt return duties, and ended up as the career leader in returns (125) and yards (1,288) despite being with the team for only four seasons.


Cyber surfing: Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks on May 20:

Mike Sando of ESPN.com had readers vote for “Flash Point” franchise-turning events for each of the four teams in the NFC West, and the obvious – and overwhelming – choice for the Seahawks was Paul Allen buying the team in 1997. As one voter put it, “It is hard to point to any one of those (other) moments as the one point where it all changed. They were part of a long, ugly slide. Allen buying the team, though, was the one point in time where you can look and say, ‘It all changed right there.’ ”

In the wake of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s comments about being “ignored” by the Lakers because he doesn’t have a statute outside the team’s arena, Vic Carucci at NFL.com weighs in on which NFL players are deserving of the honor. His obvious pick for the Seahawks: Steve Largent.

We’ll go that nine better. In addition to the Hall of Fame wide receiver, Qwest Field needs statutes of all 10 members of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor – which also would include Jim Zorn, Dave Brown, Pete Gross, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Kenny Easley, Dave Krieg, Chuck Knox and Cortez Kennedy. The St. Louis Cardinals have such a display outside Busch Stadium, and walking through the statutes is a stroll down memory lane. But if it can be only one for the Seahawks, Largent definitely is the one.

Also from NFL.com, Adam Rank, well, ranks the NFL’s sixth toughest names. At No. 3 is former Seahawks fullback Mack Strong. Says Rank, “Conjures up the image of a mack truck and of course, there is strong in the name. Only rivaled by Homer Simpsons’ “Max Power” name on The Simpsons. But No. 3? Whose name could be tougher than Mack Strong? Find out here.

The funeral for Ron Springs, the late father of former Seahawks cornerback Shawn, was held Thursday and Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com has the details. The elder Springs, who died of a heart attack last week after a long illness, was remembered as a fun and friendly guy. As Shawn said, “You really don’t have any choice but being a friend with my dad. He would talk to everybody.” Including reporters along the sideline when he attended practices while his son was playing for the Seahawks.

At Seahawks.com, we continue our recaps of the team’s first 35 seasons with a look at 1984, a season that started with Curt Warner going down and out in the opener but concluded with a 12-4 record that remained a franchise best until 2005.

We also offer a poll to determine if you think there has been a better free-agent signing than Chad Brown – an unrestricted or restricted free agent. With 325 votes cast, wide receiver Bobby Engram (78) leads Brown (68). Note to those who are atwitter with your tweets: Mack Strong is not on the list because he joined the club as a college free agent – like Dave Krieg, Joe Nash, Eugene Robinson and Rufus Porter. Neither is Mike Williams, because he was a street free agent when signed last year.


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A one-of-a-kind Triple Crown

Triple Crown winners in horse racing are rare. It has happened only 11 times since 1919, and the last winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont was Affirmed in 1978.

But Eugene Robinson pulled an even rarer “triple crown” in 1993, when the Seahawks’ free safety was voted team MVP, Man of the Year and the Steve Largent Award.

Robinson led the team in tackles (111) and interceptions (nine) in ’93, when he also was voted defensive captain before the season and to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro after the season.

No other player in the team’s 35-year history has turned that award-winning triple play.

The window of opportunity was slim, however, as the Largent Award was not presented until 1989 – when Largent was the first recipient in his final season with the team; and the MVP award was discontinued after the 1998 season – with linebacker Chad Brown the last to win it.

During that 10-year span, four players won two of the awards: defensive end Jacob Green, Man of the Year and Largent Award in 1990; Robinson, MVP and Man of the Year in 1991; wide receiver Brian Blades, Man of the Year and Largent Award in 1994; and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, MVP and Largent Award in 1996.

Pre-Largent Award, no player won MVP and Man of the Year in the same season (Man of the Year was not awarded from 1977-79).

But post-MVP, three players have won Man of the Year and the Largent Award in the same season: fullback Mack Strong (2004), wide receiver Bobby Engram (2007) and special teams captain Roy Lewis (2010).


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Strong stuff

Only five members of the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team joined the club as undrafted rookies: kicker Norm Johnson (1982), nose tackle Joe Nash (1982), free safety Eugene Robinson (1985), linebacker/special teams player Rufus Porter (1988) and fullback Mack Strong (1993).

Only six spent their entire careers with the Seahawks: strong safety Kenny Easley (1981-87), wide receiver Brian Blades (1988-98), defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (1990-2000), left tackle Walter Jones (1997-2009), Nash (1982-96) and Strong (1993-2007).

Only Strong and Nash are on both lists. And that says as much about them being included on the reader-selected team as anything else they did in their long careers with the Seahawks.

“I feel very humbled by that,” Strong said of not only being voted to the team, but being selected the fullback over John L. Williams.

“I think because of the way I initially started my career – kind of humble beings. I was not really expecting a whole lot when I got to Seattle. So that I would have a career as long as it turned out is very gratifying.”

That he has landed on the 35th Anniversary team is an over-the-top accomplishment for Strong, who won so many honors during his 14-season stay with the Seahawks. Strong’s story is the latest – and fourth – in the ongoing series of profiles on the 29 players the readers of Seahawks.com voted to the team.


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Q&A with Mack Strong

The NFL Player’s association recently conducted an interview with Seahawks alum Mack Strong.  To read the online interview click here


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