Kendall replaced - not forgotten

If Pete Kendall could have had things his way, he would still be playing for the Seattle Seahawks. But a combination of personality and personnel issues forced the former first-round draft pick to take a long hard look at his team and the NFL free agent market after the 2000 season. ...

Kendall would have looked forward to the opening of the new Seahawks stadium in 2002. Instead he prepares to line up across from former teammates in a matchup of historical proportions.

The matchup between the Seahawks and Cardinals this weekend signals a change in the tide and the beginning of a future rivalry in the NFC West, where the Seahawks and Cardinals will play each other twice a year beginning 2002.

Kendall will play even harder against his former team, to prove they were wrong in letting him go and to prove to the Cardinals organization that they were right to offer him a five-year $18 million deal that will turn former teammates into divisional opponents and add fuel to a new and budding rivalry.

When the Seahawks face off with the Cardinals, 49ers and Rams next season, their division will match up with the AFC West, with each team from the NFC West playing each from AFC West.

Although it's early to look ahead, next year will be one of the most important seasons in franchise history.

The reason why is because the Seahawks will begin to establish new rivalries with NFC opponents and will have one last season of matchups versus the AFC West, where bragging rights could be lasting.

Saturday's game is just a preseason matchup, which lacks the flair of a regular season game. But Watch closely, because there will still be talking and hitting that carry over into next season. Kendall's matchup with defensive tackle John Randle will be a battle on every play and possess the ingredients of a heavyweight bout.

Many didn't want to see Kendall leave Seattle, nor did they want the Seahawks to leave the AFC West. Change is inevitable in this game we call football. How players adapt to these changes is what makes history.

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