So last week, I wrote an article about the top five best duos in Seahawk history. The piece was opinion and generated some good conversation. However, on taking a second and third look, these are names we hear over and over. The players I named were recent, the players mentioned by commenters were well established and so I had a thought, what about finding those names we don't think of, the players that for whatever reason never reached the status of star in their Hawks uniform, but were no less productive and meant just as much in their careers as their well regarded counterparts. So here are 5 such names and I hope you will do your own research on them.
#5- Kerry Justin DB : Kerry would play seven total seasons in Seattle most of them would be spent beside Dave Brown. Kerry was really one of the better DBs in Seahawks history, but he gets lost in the rank and file because of one thing, he only recorded 8 interceptions in seven seasons. He rarely got beat, was solid in run support and would work into Chuck Knox's exotic blitz packages. He worked patiently and chose it seems not to take many risks and so he went without the reward and notoriety that those risks can provide.
#4- Mike Fanning DL: If anyone really remembers this guy I'll be impressed. He only played for one season in Seattle. Brought in as a free agent in 1984 he had a long history with Chuck Knox with the L.A. Rams. Fanning would provide a significant boost to defensive line depth and came in on 3rd down when they needed a pass rush and sometimes he would work a four man line beside Joe Nash. He would record seven sacks and really became a key piece to the blue wave defense in 1984 that would record an NFL high 60+ sacks.
#3- Dan Doornink FB: Really the first in a long line of solid fullbacks "Dr. Dan" as he was called, played 8 seasons in Seattle most of those while attending night school to become a practicing physician. The Seahawks were unable to run much when he arrived in 1979 but Doornink would be a key redzone weapon for Jim Zorn. A fearless runner in the middle or catching a short flare pass, Doornink was one of the few consistent pieces of a very talent lacking offense in the early days in Seattle. His greatest game came on a 27 carry 123 yard whooping that the 84 team would put on those stupid Raiders. This knowledge alone should make us put his name further up in our memories of hawk history. Fuck the Raiders!
#2- Sam McCullum: Sam McCullum was the first consistent deep threat weapon the Seahawks had. He played on some of the worst teams in Seahawk history. Traded from the vikings in the 1976 inaugural seahawks season he would break out in 1979 and record 3 consecutive years with 40+ catches his best year being 1980 in which he caught 62 passes for 874 yards and 6 TDs he would be traded in a controversial fashion after the 1981 season back to the vikings. This was believed to be a response to his work with the NFLPA during the 1982 strike. It's a sad end to one of the very few bright spots of early Seahawks history.
#1- Michael Jackson OLB: This name having to be here is a travesty in my opinion. I have a collection of 8 games spanning 77-80 and this man was the only anchor on a very poor defensive front seven. Terry Beeson was the man in the middle and so early in Jackson's career he was actually mopping up plays that were missed by other players. Doing a little research on this guy he was a phenom as a husky recording nearly 600 tackles. The thing that hurts him in the NFL is the lack of sacks and INTs but when you take into consideration the fact that he lead the team in tackles 3 seasons in a row through some very bad years his name should at least get a "hey how are ya?" from the Seahawk historians.
The best part of watching these older games besides seeing Zorn to Largent was watching Michael Jackson knife into a double team by a tight-end and fullback to cut down a runner or seeing him clean up a tackle on the edge. Jackson was so well considered by his coaches that he'd line up at every linebacker position at some point during the game. Whether it was to the strong side to stop the run, or the weak side to follow a full back or Middle Linebacker to help the pass defense, this guy did whatever they asked of him and did it well. His best game came against the the Houston Oilers in 1980 he recorded 11 tackles 1 sack and 2 INTs. I hope that I can create some awareness for this guy because his name gets almost no mention in historical conversations.
So there's my list. Again, thoughts and additions are not just encouraged, they're the reason I write these.