EVERETT — Kenny Easley was ensconced in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.
And the former Seattle Seahawks star safety’s Hall of Fame visage will now be on display in Everett for the next year.
Easley was at Greater Trinity Academy in south Everett on Saturday afternoon for a ceremony in which a replica of his Hall of Fame bust was unveiled. The bust will spend the next year at the school, which serves disadvantaged children ages 2-12 in the Everett community.
“I don’t know if you know what our kids’ motto is, but it is, ‘We can learn anything,’” Easley, clad in his gold Hall of Fame jacket, told the crowd of about 150 that braved the rain to attend the ceremony. “This is the next generation coming along, so I devote my time trying to help them raise money so these kids can be what they want to be when they grow up.”
Easley, who played for the Seahawks from 1981-87 and put the boom in Seattle’s secondary long before the Legion of Boom existed, has been involved with Greater Trinity from the beginning. He helped secure the property for the church in 1993, and was on hand for the opening of the school in 1999. He’s been a regular keynote speaker at the school’s annual luncheon, and he hosts an annual celebrity golf tournament to benefit the school. Saturday’s ceremony also included a ribbon-cutting ceremony in which the school’s playground was rededicated — complete with Easley’s name and number painted on the artificial surface.
Therefore, Greater Trinity Academy was a natural location for displaying Easley’s image.
“It’s really not what it means to me, it’s really what it’s going to mean to these children,” Greater Trinity Academy executive director Dr. Paul A. Stoot, Sr. said. “These children are going to be able to see hope. When they come to school or come here for the first time and have no hope, they can establish some hope by seeing someone they would probably never be able to go to Canton, Ohio, or even a Seahawks game at the stadium to see. Yet they will see a piece of a Seahawks right here in their community and their school.”
“We believe it’s so important for these kids to get that preschool start, because if they get that preschool start they have a chance of really doing something special in intermediate school and high school and college,” said Easley, who’s in the region this weekend from his home in Chesapeake, Virginia, because his No. 45 is being retired by the Seahawks during Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at CenturyLink Field. “We’ve been working real hard to help the kids in the Everett area that can’t afford to pay to go to preschool.”
Easley had a storied NFL career, played entirely with the Seahawks. He was picked in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1981 draft out of UCLA, and he went on to be selected to five Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro three times, and in 1984 Easley was honored as the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his career with 32 interceptions, which is fourth on Seattle’s all-time list, and he was inducted into the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor in 2002. Easley was elected to the Hall of Fame this summer after being nominated by the Hall’s Seniors Committee.
In addition to unveiling Easley’s replica Hall of Fame bust, Saturday’s ceremony included representatives of both Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson reading proclamations declaring Sept. 30, 2017 as Kenny Easley Day in Snohomish County and Everett, respectively.
Easley’s weekend of celebrations will be complete Sunday when he becomes just the fourth Seahawks player to have his number retired.
“It’s a great honor,” Easley said. “I played 30 years ago, so that somebody’s still thinking about Kenny Easley is remarkable in and of itself. It’s a really terrific thing to have happen at this point in my life. I’m very much more appreciative of this than I probably would have been 30 years earlier. That’s what makes it special.”
Easley joins receiver Steve Largent (80), defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (96) and tackle Walter Jones (71) as players to have their jerseys retired by the Seahawks. All four are in the Hall of Fame. Seattle also retired No. 12 in honor of the fans.