Kenny Easley hopes his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame opens the door for more safeties.
Easley, the hard-hitting safety for the Seattle Seahawks from 1981-87, becomes just the eighth full-time safety enshrined. Hall of Famers such as Mel Renfro, Ronnie Lott, Rod Woodson and Aeneas Williams were Pro Bowl cornerbacks before they moved to safety.
Easley called it a “sham” that more players of his position aren’t in alongside the other greats in the game, including longtime Dallas Cowboys safety Darren Woodson.
“We’re going to try to get more safeties in there,” Easley said. “In terms of guys who are eligible – John Lynch, [Broncos safety Steve] Atwater, Darren Woodson, Brian Dawkins – you’ve got a good crop of guys that we’re going to try to get in there.”
More Hall of Fame-caliber safeties are coming up on the ballot, too, such as Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu (retired in 2014) and Baltimore’s Ed Reed (retired in 2013).
Several of those safeties may be higher on the pecking order than Woodson, although Easley believes each of them should be enshrined someday.
“We only have like eight safeties in the Hall of Fame? Come on, man, that’s a sham,” Easley said. “I mean, we set the tone on the defense.”
The safety position has been overlooked over the years and several wonder why Woodson hasn’t gotten more support.
Woodson, a staple on the Cowboys’ Super Bowl teams in the 1990s who played from 1992-2003, has been a semifinalist for three straight years. He has never gotten to finalist status.
Woodson was named All-Pro three times and became one of the first “cover” safeties in the league. He finished his career as the Cowboys’ all-time leading tackler with 1,350 and had 23 interceptions.
“Darren Woodson was a great football player and a great safety and should be considered for the Hall. Absolutely,” Easley said. “Probably a finer gentleman than he is football player, and that’s a compliment. He’s a good football player, but he’s a finer gentleman.”
Now, time will tell if Easley's induction eventually paves the way for Woodson getting a gold jacket one day.