May 16, 2013

MVP Profile: Ken Easley, 1984

Safety, Seattle Seahawks

Age: 25
4th season in pro football & with Seahawks
College: UCLA
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 205

Highly regarded after an outstanding college career, Easley was taken by the Seahawks in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1981 NFL draft. He immediately moved into the starting lineup at strong safety and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1982 and ’83, when he was also a consensus first-team All-NFL honoree. In his first three years, he intercepted 14 passes as he demonstrated excellent ball-hawking skills to go along with his solid tackling.

1984 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 0
Interceptions – 10 [1]
Most interceptions, game – 3 at San Diego 10/29
Int. return yards – 126 [11, tied with Michael Downs]
Most int. return yards, game – 58 (on 1 int.) vs. Kansas City 11/4
Int. TDs – 2 [1, tied with seven others]
Fumble recoveries – 1
Forced fumbles – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 16
Yards – 194
Most yards, game – 59 (on 2 ret.) vs. Cleveland 9/3
Average per return – 12.1 [4]
TDs – 0
Longest return – 42 yards

TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 2 G
Sacks – 0
Interceptions – 1
Int. return yards – 21
TDs – 0

Punt Returns – 6
Most punt returns, game – 5 vs. LA Raiders, AFC Wild Card playoff
Punt Return Yards – 57
Most punt ret. Yards, game – 52 LA Raiders, AFC Wild Card playoff
Punt Return Avg. – 9.5
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Seahawks went 12-4 to finish second in the AFC West and qualify for the postseason as a Wild Card entry while leading the NFL in interceptions (38). Won AFC Wild Card playoff over Los Angeles Raiders (13-7). Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Miami Dolphins (31-10).

An injury suffered while returning a kick cost Easley three games in 1985, but he was still an outstanding and disruptive performer when healthy and was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection for the third straight year as well as a Pro Bowl honoree for the fourth straight. Continued ankle trouble hindered him further in ’86 and he had surgery. Easley came back to gain a fifth Pro Bowl selection in the strike-interrupted 1987 season but, due largely to acrimony related to his role in the players’ strike, he was traded to the Cardinals in the offseason. He never played for the Cards, however, when a physical revealed a kidney condition that forced his retirement. In seven seasons, Easley intercepted 32 passes and set the standard at his position, but his outstanding career came to a too-early end.

[Updated 6/14/13]


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). Also includes Associated Press NFL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.