Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and he enjoys talking, tweeting, or anything that may gain notoriety. You could say he’s more well known for talking than his impressive performances on the field. Some people say he should only let his play do his talking. I disagree. I like Sherman just the way he is. Most everything he does seems to be in fun and it’s not like he is in the news for being a bad teammate or breaking the law.
Thirty years ago, another Seahawks defensive back, Kenny Easley, was among the best defensive players in the NFL. If Easley had ran his mouth in the mid-80s as much as Sherman does today, he would be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, he let his play do his talking and that is why he isn’t in Canton.
There are 22 members of the All Decade team of the 1980s who played on each side of the ball. Of those 22 players, only two are not in the Hall of Fame. Those players are Easley and two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jimbo Covert of the Chicago Bears.
Two players who are on the All Decade team include Dan Hampton of the Bears and Russ Grimm of the Washington Redskins. Both players are worthy of their yellow jackets, but Easley was voted to the Pro Bowl more times than either of them and was an All Pro an equal number of times as they were, too.
Sure, you can say that Hampton was part of the well-known Bears team of 1985 and Grimm was a three-time Super Bowl winner as a member of the “Hogs.” However, if winning Super Bowls is your criteria, then you would be the one to argue that Jim Plunkett was a better quarterback than Dan Marino or Peyton Manning. While Hampton was a Super Bowl winner, he was never good enough to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year like Easley was in 1984.
There are also great players on the All Decade team, such as Kellen Winslow, who are in the Hall of Fame without ever having appeared in a Super Bowl. Easley was voted to the same number of Pro Bowls, but made one more All Pro team than Winslow.
The career of Easley was cut short after seven years due to a kidney ailment. I would accept the notion that his career was “too short” if Gayle Sayers hadn’t been enshrined after having a career of similar length and accomplishments (and appeared in as many Super Bowls).
Former San Francisco 49ers greats Bill Walsh and Ronnie Lott, amother others, said that Easley belongs in the Hall of Fame. Lott even mentioned Easley in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech because of his dominance.
The fact of the matter is that Easley deserves to be in the Hall of Fame but some people are too foolish to realize his greatness from his playing days in Southern Alaska. If Easley would have run his mouth the way Sherman does, people would have remembered to vote for him.
In a perfect world, Sherman would seize the opportunity to promote Easley, the greatest Seahawks defensive back in team history, into newfound fame with his antics. After the Easley bust had been gathering dust in Canton, Sherman could continue his stellar career and eventually overtake Easley as the greatest defensive back in team history. Instead of overtaking a non-Hall of Fame player to be the best, Sherman could overtake a Hall of Famer. That seems to be more prestigious and easier to self-promote than overtaking someone who isn’t in the Hall of Fame.
Sherman is a great player and, unlike many others, he will tell you how great he is. If he isn’t on your team, you may dislike him. If he is on your team, you enjoy his swagger, attitute and the notoriety he brings to your team.
Just how important is self-promotion?
Sherman may not even be the best defensive back on his team. Free safety Earl Thomas is a three-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowl and two-time All Pro selection. However, people outside the Pacific Northwest don’t know about Thomas nearly as much because he is not a self-promoter. That’s also a reason Easley is still waiting for his rightful call from Canton.