Nesby Glasgow, whose interception helped clinch Washington’s 1978 Rose Bowl win over Michigan before embarking on a 14-year NFL career that included a five-season stint with the Seahawks, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with stomach cancer, a Seahawks source confirmed.
He was 62.
Glasgow, who played defensive back for the Seahawks from 1988-92, told the team’s website in the fall of 2018 that he had been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma the previous March. The cancer, which according to the Seahawks.com story began in his stomach and his liver, was at stage 4 and had already spread outside of its origin.
Still, Glasgow kept an upbeat attitude that was his trademark throughout his long football career and then ensuing decades in which he worked a stint as the Seahawks’ director of player programs and was a regular presence at community events representing both the Seahawks and UW, in the wake of his diagnosis.
“You never give up,’’ Glasgow told Seahawks.com in 2018. “Too many people give in to cancer, and I’m telling you that it doesn’t define you. I decided right away that I was not going to allow chemotherapy to dictate what happens next in my life. You fight, and you believe in yourself. I always have, and I always will.”
Glasgow had recently been in hospice care and had been visited by numerous former teammates and friends.
Glasgow attended Gardena High in Los Angeles before arriving to UW as a 160-pound defensive back, often saying that hometown schools USC and UCLA wanted him to go to a junior college to bulk up before trying to play in the then Pac-8.
He came to Seattle, instead, and immediately became a key member of what was the first four years of the Don James era, earning all-conference honors as a cornerback as a junior and senior.
As a junior he also helped the Huskies to their first conference title in 14 years and a berth in the Rose Bowl against a heavily favored Michigan team.
Glasgow clinched Washington’s stunning 27-20 win over the Wolverines with an interception at the UW 7 with 32 seconds left of a desperation heave by Michigan quarterback Rick Leach.
Glasgow was voted a team captain the following season before being drafted in the eighth round by the then-Baltimore Colts in 1979.
He started four games as a rookie before becoming a full-time starter at free safety the following season, starting 114 of 128 games in which he played for the Colts from 1979-87 and voted as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1984.
After being cut by the Colts following the 1987 season he was signed by the Seahawks to help replace the traded Kenny Easley.
He became Seattle’s full-time starter at strong safety in 1989, finishing third on the team in tackles with 97 and then leading the Seahawks in tackles in 1990 with 83.
Glasgow, who received his degree from Washington in 1998, was inducted into UW’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, with a release on his election at the time stating that he “still ranks as one of the top Husky defensive players of all time.’’
In 2018, when he went public with his diagnosis in part to help raise awareness for early detection of cancer as part of the NFL’s Crucial Catch initiative, he said he planned to use the same attitude fight the disease that helped him go from undersized high-school football player to a standout college and NFL career.
“I am a fighter, and I never quit,” Glasgow said. “I don’t know what it’s like to give up — I’ve never done it. I have such strong belief in myself that I don’t see limitations, but I do see possibilities.”