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Kenny Easley chooses former high school coach as Pro Football Hall of Fame presenter

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Kenny Easley plays defense Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

On August 5th, legendary Seattle Seahawks safety Kenny Easley will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Easley was selected as a senior finalist, having ended his playing days exactly thirty years ago (albeit sadly due to severe kidney problems which required a transplant).

Easley’s choice of presenter for his induction will be Tommy Rhodes, who was his head coach at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Here’s what Kenny and Tommy had to say about this in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot.

“We have a 40-year relationship, and he was instrumental in my decision about where to go to college,” Easley said. “I thought coach Rhodes deserved to be the person to do this.”

[...]

“When Kenny first asked me, he let me suffer for a few months thinking I’d have to give a speech on national TV and in front of all of those people,” Rhodes said. “I was sweating it.”

But then NFL officials called him to say they were coming to Chesapeake to interview him. Highlights will serve as Easley’s introduction before his acceptance speech.

Rhodes said they have maintained a close relationship through the years, sharing triumph and tragedy. Easley called Rhodes within hours of learning that his pro career was ending after seven seasons because his kidneys were failing. Rhodes said he cried when he heard.

“I knew he would take it hard,” Easley said. “I almost didn’t call him. But I knew it was the right thing to do.”

While Seahawks fans know Easley as a defensive superstar who was one of the key figures in helping Seattle to its first set of playoff appearances, he was also an excellent quarterback at Oscar Smith, becoming the first player in the state’s history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a single season. He then starred for four seasons at UCLA, before the Seahawks drafted him with the #4 overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft.

Easley will join Steve Largent, Walter Jones, and the late Cortez Kennedy as the only Seahawks lifers to make the Hall of Fame.

As for the other HOF inductees, here’s who will be presenting each of them in Canton next month:

MORTEN ANDERSEN – Sebastian Andersen, Morten’s son

TERRELL DAVIS – Neil Schwartz, Terrell’s agent & friend

JERRY JONES – Gene Jones, Jerry’s wife

JASON TAYLOR – Jimmy Johnson, Jason’s coach with Dolphins

LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON – Lorenzo Neal, LaDainian’s teammate with Chargers

KURT WARNER – Brenda Warner, Kurt’s wife