What if Hall of Famer Mike Haynes was drafted by Seahawks? 'I don't know how my career would have turned out'
April 16, 2020
Before Mike Haynes was taken by the New England Patriots with the fifth overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft, Haynes recalled being in contact with the Seattle Seahawks prior to the draft.
Both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seahawks were expansion franchises, which meant they held the No. 1 and No. 2 picks, respectively. Seahawks General Manager Dick Mansperger reached out to Haynes at the time and told him that he really liked him, and there was a good chance that the Seahawks would take him with the second pick.
Haynes, however, didn’t want to go to Seattle.
“They were new franchises, and I felt like it would be eight years before they ever started to win,” Haynes told Fox News on Wednesday. “I really didn’t understand the NFL well enough to really make that decision, and I didn’t have anybody to talk to about it. But I tried telling them that they want to get a quarterback or a running back. It’s the first player in the team’s history, you want the fans to come in here and see this guy throw for a lot of touchdown passes and yards."
“As a defensive back, I might have been asking for trouble,” Haynes continued. “I’m going to be going up against the world’s best wide receivers and best quarterbacks as a rookie. I guess I convinced him, and they chose someone else instead. However, had I been drafted by Seattle, I would have absolutely loved it. I can’t even tell you how many friends I have in Seattle. The coaches there, I’ve been friends with a lot of them, the general managers, and the team does a lot of work in the Seattle community. I would have loved it there.”
Mike Haynes of the Los Angeles Raiders runs with the ball against the San Diego Chargers during an NFL football game on Sept. 10, 1989 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Haynes played for the Raiders from 1983-89. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Everything came full circle when Haynes was a member of the Los Angeles Raiders. He ended up playing against the Seahawks in the AFC Championship Game, and the Raiders managed to avenge two regular-season losses to Seattle, with a 30-14 home win in the title game for the 1983-84 season.
“They put together a great team,” Haynes said of the Seahawks. “Somehow, someway they did it. And it didn’t take as long as I thought it would take. But I don’t really think I was aware of all of the different things that they could have done to have a good team in a short period of time.
“I don’t know how my career would have turned out,” Haynes said when asked what might have happened had he been drafted by Seattle. “That’s an interesting question. I never really considered it or thought about it. But I did like it. I still like Seattle. I go up there once or twice a year. They have great football fans. I can’t tell you how many games I had up there, where I couldn’t even hear or talk to anyone that was within 3 feet away from me. The noise is so loud up there.”
Haynes said his son, Tate, a cornerback who is a redshirt sophomore at Boston College, was being recruited to play football at the University of Washington, and they were there for an unofficial visit.
Haynes took his son by the Seahawks’ facilities and introduced him to head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson during an offseason training program.
“I’ve known him [Carroll] for a long time because of the years I worked in the NFL,” Haynes said. “And I had a chance to talk to him even when he was at USC. I have pictures with my son and Russell Wilson. My son was a quarterback in high school, so I thought it would be great if my son had a chance to meet him. And he was just really gracious with his time, and made my son and me feel really good about the time we were spending there. The people up there are really nice. They take their football really seriously. They love their players.”
After joining the Raiders in 1983, Haynes and fellow teammate Lester Hayes were considered one of the best cornerback duos in the history of the NFL en route to a Super Bowl XVIII win over the Washington Redskins.
Haynes was a nine-time Pro Bowler and an eight-time All-Pro cornerback. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997, and by many NFL experts, Haynes is regarded as one of the best overall cornerbacks in league history.
“When I first started I only wanted to play three years,” Haynes said. “In the beginning, I never thought about playing for a long time. My first 6-7 years, I learned a lot and I knew so much. I just worked really hard and I enjoyed it. And I was just really lucky.”
Dan Canova is a Sports Reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @DanCanova
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