Late Tuesday the NFL announced that 27 former players have made the list of semifinalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the 2018 class, and included in the list are two former offensive linemen who started their careers with the Seattle Seahawks, Kevin Mawae and Steve Hutchinson.
Both were drafted by Seattle, but left in free agency at the end of their rookie contracts, with Hutchinson alienating many fans when he signed a contract containing a poison pill that made it impossible for the Seahawks to retain his services. Hutch had made three consecutive Pro Bowls and was an All Pro in two of the three seasons prior to reaching free agency, but in an effort to save money against the cap, then Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell opted to try and save cap money by using the transition tag instead of the franchise tag.
As a result of that decision, Hutchinson was free to sign an offer sheet with another team, which is exactly what he did. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the offer sheet was for a contract that, as mentioned, made it impossible for Seattle to exercise its right to match, and Hutchinson went on to spend the next six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. As a Viking Hutchinson made the Pro Bowl four more times and added three more All Pro selections before playing a final season with the Tennessee Titans in 2012.
While many fans continue to harbor resentment towards Hutchinson following the poison pill debacle from nearly twelve years ago, the team has attempted to reconcile, and even invited Hutch to raise the 12th man flag prior to the playoff win over the Detroit Lions last season.
While many fans may not want to see Hutch elected to the Hall of Fame, the seven time Pro Bowler and five time All Pro guard likely has a very good chance of being elected. Of the ten offensive linemen in NFL history who have been selected first team All Pro five times or more and are eligible for induction, eight are already in the Hall of Fame, Alan Faneca has been a finalist in each of his two years of eligibility and Hutchinson is a semifinalist in his first year eligible. It may not be this year, his first year of eligibility, but it is extremely likely he will make the Hall of Fame eventually, regardless of whether it is this coming year, or at some point in the future.