Free-agent Madness: Babineaux vs. Krieg

Yesterday: Big plays prevailed over big blocks.

Jordan Babineaux, a versatile defensive back who has started at three spots in the secondary since making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2004, easily dispatched Mike Tice in their play-in matchup. Babineaux, whose nickname is “Big Play Babs,” collected 70 percent of the light turnout, or 93 votes. The 6-foot-7 Tice, who made the conversion from quarterback to tight end before making the roster in 1981, got the other 30 percent – or 40 votes.

But the victor in this opening matchup now draws one of the fairytale stories in franchise history …

Today: Babineaux vs. Dave Krieg.

Where to begin with the saga that was Krieg coming from seventh-string QB at little Milton College to lead the Seahawks to their first playoff appearance and then play in the league for 19 seasons? At the beginning.

Krieg got invited to training camp in 1980 as a favor to his college coach, Rudi Ghedini. Krieg’s trip from Wisconsin to Spokane marked the first time he had ever been on an airplane. When backup QB Steve Myer suffered a career-ending neck injury when he was sandwiched by defensive tackles Manu Tuiasosopo and Robert Hardy during the annual scrimmage at Eastern Washington University, Sam Adkins moved into the backup role behind Jim Zorn. And guess who became No. 3?

With Zorn struggling through a slump at midseason in 1983, coach Chuck Knox went to Krieg in the second half of a Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Kingdome. Knox stayed with Krieg the following week, when he led the Seahawks to an upset of the Raiders at the L.A. Coliseum. With an assist from columnist Melvin Durslag of the L.A. Herald Examiner, Krieg’s “The Man from Milton” persona was born.

Krieg and the Seahawks would meet the Raiders in L.A. a second time that season – in the AFC Championship game, after winning the first playoff game in franchise history (over the Denver Broncos at the Kingdome) and upsetting the Dolphins in Miami.

Before he left the Seahawks after the 1991 season, Krieg had set franchise records in 31 career, season and single-game categories – including career attempts (3,576), completions (2,096), yards (26,132) and touchdown passes (195).

His most productive season came in 1984, when leading rusher Curt Warner was lost for the season in the opener. “Ground Chuck” morphed into “Air Knox,” as Krieg passed for 3,671 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Along the way, Krieg also picked up one of the best nicknames in franchise history: Mudbone. Mudbone? “Yeah,” guard Bryan Millard once explained. “Dave is like an old bone they pulled out of the mud. He’s our ‘Mudbone.’ ”

Krieg was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2004. After leaving Seattle, he played for the Kansas City Chiefs (1992-93), Detroit Lions (1994), Arizona Cardinals (1995), Chicago Bears (1996) and Tennessee Oilers (1997-98; they didn’t become the Titans until 1999).

Tomorrow: Rufus Porter vs. Norm Johnson

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