The Seattle Seahawks released their Pro Bowl return man, Leon Washington, on March 12. With the recent acquisition of Percy Harvin, who may be the only kick returner better than Washington, the Seahawks were forced to part ways with the best kick returner to ever put on a Seahawks uniform.
Seattle acquired Washington in 2010 from the New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick. The former fourth-round 2006 draft pick was thought to be a possible star in the NFL after a breakout game against the Detroit Lions in 2006. During that game, Washington ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns. During the 2008 season with the Jets, he had 2,337 all purpose yards, helping the Jets to make the playoffs.
In week seven of the 2009 season against the Oakland Raiders, Washington suffered a terrible leg injury. He broke his leg and had a compound fracture that would require surgery. His 2009 season and career with the Jets was over.
While the Jets and many other people thought that Washington’s productive career was over, the Seahawks did not. During the 2010 NFL Draft, Seattle decided to send a fifth-round pick to the Jets to acquire him. He had an immediate impact, returning the ball twice for touchdowns in a 2010 September game against the San Diego Chargers.
In his three years with the Seahawks, Washington has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and has 4,398 total return yards. So far in his career, he has amassed a total of eight kickoff returns for touchdowns. That is an NFL record that he shares with only Josh Cribbs.
Even with the acquisition of Harvin, Washington’s departure will be felt. His ability to see the field and return kickoffs is hard to find in a player. The 2012 Pro Bowl return man shouldn’t have a problem getting scooped up in free agency. A player as talented as him can help any team get better. I’m sure we will be seeing him confusing special teams defenses all next season.