The Pro Football Hall of Fame released its list of nominees for the 2022 class on Wednesday, Sept. 22, setting the stage for a stacked class of inductees. Former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander is once again a nominee after originally becoming eligible in 2013
Alexander is one of the 122 modern-era nominees after a career that lasted nine years — eight with the Seahawks — and resulted in 9,453 rushing yards. He is 36th all-time in rushing yards, behind Chris Johnson and ahead of Hall of Famer Earl Campbell. His 100 rushing touchdowns are good enough for eighth all-time, putting him in a tie with Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. Alexander rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns during the 2005 season, helping the Seahawks reach Super Bowl XL and locking up NFL MVP in the process.
Alexander is not the only former member of the Seahawks eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fellow running back Ricky Watters, who spent four years in the Pacific Northwest and rushed for 4,009 yards, is also on the list of modern-era nominees. Three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dave Krieg rounds out the list after he spent 12 years with the Seahawks and threw for 26,132 yards.
Alexander’s Career Was Shorter Compared to Some Peers
The former first-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft made a significant impact in the Pacific Northwest during his career, albeit in fewer years than some of his peers. He only spent eight years with the Seahawks and one with the Football Team, but he still led the league in rushing touchdowns twice (2001, 2005), rushing yards once (2005), and carries once (2005).
Despite the relative shortness of his career, Alexander remains optimistic about his Hall of Fame credentials. He explained to Nate Burleson of “Good Morning Football” in January 2021 that his career played out in a similar manner to those of Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell. He also noted that he helped turn the NFC West team into a contender.
“I try to keep it humble,” Alexander told Burleson, “but I think the 98, 99 touchdowns total in five years, it stands on its own. When I came to Seattle, we’d had three winning seasons in 25 years – three playoff seasons – and so by the time I leave, the culture’s different. We were winning. Everybody knows they’re going to come to Seattle and they might get out being beat by a lot. We just changed the culture with that. The touchdowns and the yards, they just hadn’t been done in Seattle like that.
“Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell, those would be correct players because even though it seems like I’m often compared to Emmitt (Smith) or Barry (Sanders), and those guys played 12, 15 more years. Really, you can almost squeeze mine down to six. But if you compare me to those greats – Gale and Earl Campbell and Terrell Davis, who I love, big brother, you know – you take my six years against theirs, then I think everybody would say we all deserve gold jackets.”
Alexander Will Go Up Against a Star-Studded List of Nominees
There is no denying the impact that Alexander had on the Seahawks during his career, but he faces steep odds to don a gold jacket prior to the 2022 NFL season. The reason is the list of fellow athletes eligible for induction.
There are several stars on the list of nominees that will create heated discussions about whether they belong in Canton. Former defensive end Jared Allen, wide receiver Hines Ward, linebacker London Fletcher, and cornerback Charles Tillman are only a few notable names of returning nominees.
Additionally, the list of first-year players includes men who fired up fanbases around the country and prompted millions of jersey sales. Wide receivers Steve Smith Jr., Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, and Devin Hester are only a few of the examples. The list also includes defensive stalwarts Vince Wilfork, Robert Mathis, and DeMarcus Ware.
It remains likely that at least one of these players will hear his name called during his first year of eligibility, taking away a potential spot in the class that could belong to Alexander. There is no set number of players that will make up the 2022 class, per a release from the Hall of Fame. The only provision is that between four to eight will receive the honor.
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