Kevin Mawae, whom Seattle drafted in the second round in 1994, became the 10th player with Seahawks ties in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Steve Hutchinson hoped to make it 11, but he fell short for the second year in a row.
Steve Hutchinson, who helped power the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl after the 2005 season, will have to wait at least another year for coronation in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But another player who also began his career in Seattle before moving on, center Kevin Mawae, was among the eight elected to the Hall on Saturday.
Mawae was a second-round pick of the Seahawks in 1994, the 36th pick overall, and started 59 games for Seattle from 1994 to 1997 before leaving via free agency after the 1997 season, signing with the Jets. His career then blossomed as he made eight Pro Bowls in the next 12 years of his career as well as being named All-Pro three times. He spent eight seasons with the Jets and four more with Tennessee before retiring after the 2009 season.
Mawae actually played his first two seasons with Seattle at right guard before moving to center in 1996, the position he would play the rest of his career. He was the leader of a Seattle offensive line that in 1997 — when now fellow Hall of Famer Walter Jones joined the team as a rookie left tackle — helped the Seahawks to gain the third-most yards in the NFL (359.9 per game), one of only three times in Seattle history the Seahawks have finished in the top three in yards (second in 2005 and third in 1978). He eventually was named to the All-Decades team for the 2000s after making the Pro Bowl every season from 1999 to 2004 while with the Jets.
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Mawae is the fourth player drafted by the Seahawks to make the Hall of Fame, the others being Jones, Cortez Kennedy and Kenny Easley, all of whom spent their entire careers with Seattle before being named to the Hall. Five others who spent all (Steve Largent) or part of their careers (Warren Moon, Franco Harris, John Randle, Jerry Rice, Carl Eller) with the Seahawks also have made the Hall, making Mawae the 10th player with Seattle ties of some sort to be elected.
Hutchinson hoped to become another player drafted by Seattle to make it to the Hall but for a second year fell short. Like last year, he was again one of the 10 finalists from the initial group of 15 modern-era finalists, but then did not make it to the final five.
The Seahawks promoted Hutchinson’s candidacy this season and he was introduced for election by Mike Sando of ESPN.com, a longtime Seahawks beat writer. Hutchinson, though, spent more of his career in Minnesota — six years — controversially leaving Seattle via free agency after the 2005 season, a year when he teamed with Jones to form a left side of the line that helped lead Shaun Alexander to a franchise-record 1,880 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. He also played a final season in 2012 with Tennessee before retiring.
Two others with Seahawks ties also didn’t make it — Tom Flores, who coached the Seahawks from 1992 to 1994, and running back Edgerrin James, known primarily for his time with the Colts but who finished his career in Seattle in 2009. Also failing to get in was longtime former NFL coach Don Coryell, a Seattle native who played at the University of Washington.
The other seven members of the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame class are: safeties Ed Reed and Johnny Robinson, cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Ty Law, tight end Tony Gonzalez, contributor Gil Brandt, a longtime exec with the Dallas Cowboys and longtime Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen. The eight will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3. Reed, Bailey, Gonzalez and Law joined Mawae as the five modern-era finalists to earn election.
Also Saturday, rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin won the NFL’s Game Changer Award, given to “a member of the football family who has positively contributed to the sport and his or her community.”
No Seahawks got votes for any of the major awards — MVP (which went to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes), Offensive Player of the Year (Mahomes), Defensive Player of the Year (Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald), Offensive Rookie of the Year (Saquon Barkley of the Giants) and Defensive Rookie of the Year (Darius Leonard of the Colts).
Pete Carroll did receive two votes for Coach of the Year, which went to Matt Nagy of the Bears.