It truly is the end of an era. When organized team activities start up later this spring, you won’t see any members of the Seahawks who played for their Super Bowl teams.
Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner — the last vestiges of the championship days — are with the Broncos and Rams, respectively. The other legends are either retired or trying to squeeze out the last bit of football that they can.
But here’s the thing: Many of those legends will be back at Lumen Field one day, celebrated by one of the most rabid fan bases in the NFL. I’ve picked six that I think are locks for the ring of honor: Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Wilson and Wagner. I’ve also decided to rank them — not by their accomplishments, but by how beloved they are by the 12s.
6. Earl Thomas. He was the best safety in football for a while and may be the best safety the Seahawks have ever had (Kenny Easley fans would like a word). He was also the most unfiltered interview subject to grace that locker room in years. He sugarcoated nothing, although that was often to his detriment. As endearing as Thomas could be at times, the breakup in Seattle was messy. He regularly spoke of being disrespected even though the Seahawks made him the highest-paid safety in football. Unfortunately, the lasting image of Thomas is him flipping coach Pete Carroll the bird in his final game as a Seahawk. That won’t play well with a lot of fans.
5. Richard Sherman. Like Thomas, Sherman was the best in the game at his position (cornerback) at one time. And his tipping of Colin Kaepernick’s pass into the hands of Malcolm Smith in the NFC Championship Game may be the greatest play in Seahawks history. But then there were the outbursts. There was him threatening to take a journalist’s credential and essentially blaming Carroll for losing the Super Bowl by approving a pass play from the 1. He’s still an immortal in this town, but there have been enough incidents to prevent him from getting universal approval from fans.
4. Kam Chancellor: This is where it gets tough, because some might put Kam No. 1. His style of play was unrelenting. His enthusiasm was infectious. The hit on Vernon Davis? Unreal. His strip against Detroit to save the game on Monday Night Football? As clutch as it gets. He’ll never have to buy a drink in Seattle again. There is one hang-up, though. He sat out the first two games of the 2015 season because the Seahawks didn’t extend a contract that was more than a year from expiring — something they’ve never done. Seattle lost both of those games in what ended up being a disappointing 10-6 season given the team’s talent level.
3. Bobby Wagner: Again, a possible No. 1. Again, the best at his position (middle linebacker) for years. Actually, he was the best at his position longer than anyone on this list. Wagner was also one of the most genuine, gracious personalities to come through Seattle in any sport. No real controversies. Thoughtful interaction with the media. Nothing really to critique. He just has some stiff competition in the final two spots.
2. Russell Wilson. His departure was different from that of Wagner’s. Bobby was cut. Wilson demanded a trade. But Wilson was also the most valuable football player the Seahawks have ever had and had been the face of the franchise for the past several years. Was he a little robotic with the media? Sure. He is the Seahawks’ all-time leader in passer rating, touchdown passes and cliches. But the amount of time and money he spent trying to improve the community was peerless. A Seattle sports Mt. Rushmore member for sure.
1. Marshawn Lynch: There’s just something about him, no? Lynch may not have come off as a model citizen. He certainly didn’t seem to be a fan of authority, and completely disregarded the media. But he was true to himself. Nothing phony about him — and fans love that. Oh, he was also the best running back in the NFL at one point. And though Sherman’s tip was more significant, Lynch’s Beast Quake touchdown vs. the Saints was likely the most exhilarating play in team history. When he came back at the end of the 2019 season, the buzz was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. A truly unique individual, and true Seattle icon.