On this date: Galloway traded

A look at the memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 12:

2000: Joey Galloway is traded to the Cowboys for first-round draft choices in 2000 and 2001, picks the Seahawks use to select Shaun Alexander and Koren Robinson.

2003: John Marshall is hired as linebackers coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff.

2006: Matt Hasselbeck completes 10 of 17 passes for 85 yards as the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 23-17 in a defense-dominated game that features 10 turnovers and seven sacks. Lofa Tatupu has a team-high six tackles, as well as two more on special teams, while Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Mack Strong and Robbie Tobeck help the NFC convert eight of 18 third-down situations.


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On this date: Alexander propels NFC

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 8:

2004: Shaun Alexander runs for 66 yards and two touchdowns and also scores on a 5-yard reception to help the NFC take a wild 55-52 victory in the Pro Bowl. Matt Hasselbeck (4 of 9 for 51 yards), Alex Bannister (one special teams tackle), Steve Hutchinson and Walter Jones also represent the Seahawks in the game.


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Rampaging rookies

The numbers Joey Galloway put up during his rookie season were almost as stunning as his speed: 67 receptions for 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns; as well as an 89-yard punt return for a TD and an 86-yard scoring run on a reverse of a reverse – in back-to-back games.

Galloway, if you remember, had reconstructive knee surgery while at Ohio State. But he came back faster. Timed in 4.52 seconds for 40 yards before the injury, Galloway clocked a 4.38 at the scouting combine in 1995 and then lowered that at his Pro Day workout – where the Seahawks had him in 4.2, but other stopwatches caught Galloway at 4.16 and 4.18.

Scouts at that workout were reluctant to say what time they had for Galloway, because they didn’t want to be the first to offer a time few would believe.

But during a pre-minicamp 40 in the spring of 1999, Galloway ran 4.15 – with a slight rolling start.

Fellow receiver Sean Dawkins had heard about just how fast Galloway was, but his eyes widened to the size of two fried eggs as he offered, “I was like this, just looking at the clock.”

Added Dawkins, “Speed kills in this league, and Joey’s got a lot of it.”

Regardless of which time you go by, Galloway was fast – and had the uncanny ability to shift into an extra gear while seemingly already running at full speed against cornerbacks who were supposedly as fast, or faster.

But did his speed-infused ’95 contributions comprise the best rookie season in franchise history?

Here are some others to consider, before you cast your vote below:

Steve Niehaus, 1976 – Yes, Steve Largent and Jim Zorn where in this same rookie class during the team’s inaugural season. But Niehaus, the defense tackle who was the team’s first-round draft choice, trumped their efforts. He had 8½ sacks among his 90 tackles.

Terry Beeson, 1977 – A second-round draft choice, he started 13 games at middle linebacker and led the team with 136 tackles, including 110 solo stops. He also broke up five passes.

John Harris, 1978 – A steal of a sixth-round pick, Harris started all 16 games at free safety, collecting 113 tackles, four interceptions and 15 passes defensed.

Kenny Easley, 1981 – The fourth pick overall in that year’s NFL draft, he started 14 games opposite Harris. Easley finished second on the team in tackles (107) and interceptions (three).

Curt Warner, 1983 – Coach Chuck Knox traded the team’s first-, second- and third-round draft choices to move into the third spot so he could select the back needed for his Ground Chuck offense. Warner did not disappoint, rushing for 1,449 yards (on 335 carries), catching 42 passes and scoring 14 touchdowns to earn AFC offensive player of the year honors.

John Kasay, 1991 – A kicker? Yes, but not just any kicker. In his rookie season, Kasay scored 102 points and hit eight of his 10 field-goal attempts from 40-plus yards. Josh Brown scored more points (114) as a rookie in 2003, but he also missed eight field goals – include five from 40-49 yards in 11 attempts.

Steve Hutchinson, 2001 – The second of the team’s two first-round picks stepped in and started all 16 games at left tackle. The offense averaged 121 rushing yards (up from 107.5 in 2000) and Shaun Alexander ran for 14 TDs.

Lofa Tatupu, 2005 – The Seahawks traded up in the second round of the draft to select the middle linebacker. He not only solidified a spot where the team had started seven players in the previous six seasons, Tatupu led the team with 105 tackles and also had four sacks and three interceptions.

Why aren’t Largent (54 catches for 705 yards and four TDs in 1976), Darryl Turner (35 for a 20.4-yard average and 10) and Darrell Jackson (53 for 713 and six in 2000) on this list? Because Galloway pulled away from the wide-receiver field in his rookie season – when he became the 10th rookie in league history, and first since 1986, to catch passes for at least 1,000 yards.


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 22:

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times offers his Top 10 Seahawks games at Qwest Field, with the venue’s name being changes to CenturyLink. Says O’Neil: “It’s hard to feel wistful for what amounts to successful corporate marketing. It’s also hard to deny that it will feel a little bit odd that the Seahawks won’t be playing their home games at Qwest Field but rather CenturyLink Field.” No. 1 on his list might surprise you.

The Seahawks are scheduled to play the Steelers (remember them?) in Pittsburgh in Week 2 this season, and Sporting News Daily takes a look at the defending AFC Champions. Says long-time Steelers beat writer Gerry Dulac, who compiled the report: “The Steelers lost only four games in 2010, won their 20th division title since 1970 and made it to their third Super Bowl in six years. Now (coach Mike) Tomlin gets to see if he can do it again. The previous two times the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl – after the 2005 and 2008 seasons – they missed the playoffs the following year.”

Former Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson, a member of the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team, tells 1500ESPN.com that “I feel as good as I have since I’ve been in the league.” Hutchinson signed with the Vikings in 2006 after playing his first five seasons in Seattle. Offered Hutchinson, when asked what he’s been doing during the lockout: “If you look at what we’d be doing this time, other than the fact we haven’t had OTAs and minicamps – I’m doing the same workouts I would have been doing if they would have been organized at Winter Park. So, from where we usually are at this point in the offseason, I’m in just as good of shape as I would have been, and that’s really all you can ask.”

As for the give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, Chris Mortensen of all things ESPN offers details of the CBA proposal commissioner Roger Goodell presented to the NFL owners at their meeting on Tuesday. Says Mortensen: “The negotiating teams for the owners and players, led by Goodell and (DeMaurice) Smith, are expected to return to the table most likely Wednesday and Thursday in Boston, hoping to build off the momentum of three strong weeks of talks under the supervision of a court-appointed mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.”

Len Pasquarelli of CBSSports.com says a deal could be reached within two or three weeks. Says Pasquarelli: “But it does not appear there is sufficient opposition to derail the process or to block approval of a CBA if current momentum leads to an agreement. New England’s Bob Kraft, certainly one of the most influential owners and noted as a man who has Goodell’s ear, allowed there is ‘still a lot of work ahead of us.’ Still, much of the heavy lifting, particularly in terms of revenue split, seems to be accomplished.”

Don Banks at SI.com says the situation is now all about nine – the number of dissenting votes it would take to block a deal. Offers Banks: “The tricky and somewhat nuanced truth to come out of Tuesday’s meeting, however, was this: According to league sources, there were very few specifics relayed to league owners about the framework of what a final deal might look like, and minus those details, there was no reason to either start counting votes in the room or engage in spirited debate about the pros and cons of such a proposal.”
Pat Kirwan at NFL.com continues his positional rakings with a look at the cornerbacks. Says Kirwan: “Some of the league’s top cornerbacks were thrown at less than 50 times last season, while others had more than 100 passes come their way. I found myself rearranging this list constantly while sorting through all of these factors.” No matter how many times he sorted his list, the Seahawks’ Marcus Trufant did not crack the Top 30.

This has nothing to do with the Seahawks, and not all that much to do with football. But it is about Clarence Clemons, the tower-of-saxophone-power in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band who died Saturday of complications after suffering a stroke on June 11. Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com checks in with former Jets running back Emerson Boozer. Why? Clemons, as it turns out, blocked for Boozer in college. Boozer recalled a conversation he had with Clemons in the mid-70s: “I’ll never forget what he told me. He said, ‘I found me a soul brother that’s going to make me a lot of money. Write this name down – Bruce Springsteen.’ ”

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our series of articles on the franchise’s first 35 seasons with a look at 1993, when the team won three times as many games in Tom Flores’ second season as coach as it did in his first.


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Class reunions

Our recap of the Seahawks’ 1997 season focused on the arrivals that changed the course of the franchise – starting with owner Paul Allen, but also including free-agent addition Chad Brown and draft choices Walter Jones and Shawn Springs.

All three players were voted to the 35th Anniversary team, making ’97 one of eight years when more than one member of the reader-selected team joined the Seahawks.

But which “class” is the class of the 35th Anniversary team? Check out their credentials and then vote for your favorite:

1976 – Steve Largent and Dave Brown. These two were there at the start. Largent arrived in an Aug. 26 trade with the Houston Oilers and went on to set franchise records – and, at the time he retired after the 1989 season, NFL records – for receptions (819), receiving yards (13,089) and TD catches (100). Brown was obtained in the March 30 veteran allocation draft and became the club’s all-time leader in interceptions (50) and interception returns for touchdowns (five).

1982 – Joe Nash and Norm Johnson. Each arrived after the NFL draft, as a rookie free agent. Each performed like a first-round draft choice. In 15 seasons, Nash played in more games than anyone in franchise history (218). He also shares the all-time lead in blocked field goals (eight), ranks third in tackles (779) and sixth in sacks (47½). Johnson holds the club record for points scored (810), field goals (159) and PATs (333).

1984 – Bryan Millard and Fredd Young. Millard came to the Seahawks after playing two seasons in the old USFL, while Young was a third-round draft choice and went to the Pro Bowl twice as a linebacker and twice as a special teams performer. Millard started 99 games and was the best lineman in franchise history until Jones was selected in the first-round of the 1997 draft. Young led the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons (1985-87).

1988 – Brian Blades and Rufus Porter. Blades was the team’s top choice, selected in the second round. Porter was a free-agent addition, and a late one at that. Blades ranks second to Largent in receptions (581) and receiving yards (7,620), and he’s No. 5 in TD catches (34). He caught 80 and 81 passes in 1993 and ’94, the most productive two-season stretch in franchise history. Porter is the only player voted to two spots on the 35th Anniversary team – linebacker and special teams player. He ranks No. 7 in sacks (37½), including a club-leading 10 in 1991; and led the team in special teams tackles in back-to-back seasons (1988-89).

1991 – Michael Sinclair and Rick Tuten. Sinclair was a sixth-round draft choice, while Tuten was signed on Oct. 9 – the third punter used by the Seahawks that season. Sinclair ranks second on the club’s all-time list in sacks (73½), including a league-leading 16½ in 1998. He also led the team in sacks three other times. Tuten, who punted a league-high 108 times in 1992, is the club’s all-time leader in punts (554), yards (24,266) and punts inside the 20 (147).

1997 – Chad Brown, Shawn Springs and Walter Jones. Brown was the team’s big free-agent addition, while Springs and Jones were acquired with the third and sixth picks in the draft. Brown led the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons (1997-99). He ranks No. 3 in fumble recoveries (13), No. 4 in tackles (744) and No. 5 in sacks (48).  Springs is tied for fifth in interceptions (20), and returned two for touchdowns. Jones was voted to a franchise-high nine Pro Bowls and ranks second to Largent (197) in games started (180).

2000 – Robbie Tobeck and Shaun Alexander. Tobeck was signed in free agency, after playing his first six NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Alexander was selected in the first round of the draft. From his center position, Tobeck anchored the line that helped Alexander become the franchise’s all-time leader in rushing yards (9,429) and touchdowns (100). Their best season came in 2005, when Alexander was voted the league MVP after leading the NFL in rushing and scoring a then-NFL record 28 TDs; and Tobeck was voted to the only Pro Bowl of his career.

2001 – Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Hutchinson and Bobby Engram. Hasselbeck was acquired in a March trade with the Green Bay Packers. Hutchinson was a first-round pick in the April draft. Engram was signed in September, after being released by the Chicago Bears. The Seahawks never would have made it to the Super Bowl in 2005 without these three – as Hasselbeck passed for 3,459 yards and 24 TDs; Hutchinson joined Jones to form the most formidable side of any line in football; and Engram led the team with 67 receptions. Hasselbeck has become the franchise leader in career completions (2,572) and passing yards (29,579) and ranks second in TD passes (176). Hutchinson was voted to three consecutive Pro Bowls (2003-05). Engram also set a franchise record with 94 receptions in 2007.

Impressive stuff. But which “class” was the most impressive? You make the call …


Laying it on the line

The only problem with Bryan Millard being voted into the right guard spot on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team is that it left Chris Gray on the outside looking in.

The left guard, of course, is Steve Hutchinson, who generated almost as many votes (1,411) for the reader-selected team as Millard (758) and Gray (656) combined. But when it came to the other guard spot, the readers remembered a player who performed at a high – and at times dominating – level. Even if Millard did it from 1984-91.

As Millard put it in the 18th profile in a series of stories on the players selected to the team, “Think about it. I wasn’t just an offensive lineman; I was an offensive lineman from 20 years ago. So to have the fans remember me is very, very humbling.”

Still, it’s difficult to overlook Gray, who started a club-record 121 consecutive games from 1999-2006 – and 145 overall, at three different positions.

“There’s a guy who doesn’t get enough respect,” said Lofa Tatupu, the middle linebacker on the 35th Anniversary team. “Chris Gray was one of the best O-linemen I ever played against. That was one of the toughest dudes I ever met. And what a nice guy.

“Looking at him, he’s always got that same expression – just kind of stares at you. But get him on the field, man, and he was just unbelievably tough.”

Robbie Tobeck, the center on the 35th Anniversary team, played next to Gray from 2000-06. Tobeck also casts a vote for Gray, by casting a blanket vote for the entire unit that was so dominant during the team’s run to the Super Bowl in 2005.

Left tackle Walter Jones, Hutchinson and Tobeck made the reader-selected team. Gray and right tackle Sean Locklear did not – as Howard Ballard was voted the right tackle, with Locklear finishing third in the balloting at tackle behind Jones and Ballard.

“I would vote for that line,” Tobeck said of the ’05 unit. “I always take that unit as a whole.

“You’ve got a Hall of Famer in Walt and possibly in Steve. But each guy on that line had their place. If you had taken one cog out of there, it’s not the same line.”

That became apparent as Hutchinson left after the ’05 season in free agency, Tobeck retired after the 2006 season, an injury forced Gray to retire during training camp in 2008 and Jones retired last year after spending the 2009 season on injured reserve following microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Together, this foursome played 35 seasons for the Seahawks (13 by Jones, 10 by Gray); started 481 games (180 by Jones, 145 by Gray); and was voted to 13 Pro Bowls (nine by Jones).

Here’s the line on that line, from the player who anchored it:

Tobeck on Jones: “Walt was your shutdown left tackle who had his way of doing things that you kind of followed as an example.”

Tobeck on Hutchinson: “Steve was a heckuva athlete; very strong.”

Tobeck on himself: “I had my role, which was to kind of coordinate it and quarterback it and be the ornery little pisser – the guy who’s always stirring it up.”

Tobeck on Gray: “Chris was our conscience. We wouldn’t have been as good a line without Chris. And what I mean by conscience, he was the guy that was always thinking of the scenario we might get in a game; and reviewing the plays with us; and pulling the notes out that we’d taken during the week and going over them on Saturday or going over them before the game in the locker room. We was constantly talking about what-if scenarios that you don’t have time to cover in your meeting room. About twice a season, he would come up with something and we’d walk out on the field and say, ‘Thank God Chris covered this.’ ”

Tobeck on Locklear: “ ‘Cornbread’ was the young guy we’d mess with. He was just trying to fit in and keep up.”

Tobeck on the entire group: “Everyone was equal in their own way, if that makes sense. It wasn’t like Michael Jordan and the Bulls. It wasn’t Walter Jones and the line. That’s what it’s all about. It’s that family within a family. If your team is a family, if you come together as a family – and you do on those good teams – then the offensive line is a family within that family. And that’s a special thing.”


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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.


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