"Steve (Largent) and I would go against him every single day because he was the best cover corner. We just all made each other better." - Jim Zorn, on Dave Brown.
When I first began really immersing myself in the history of the Seahawks, one of the realities I grasped early on was that a vast majority of the some 600 players who have played for the team are still walking this planet.
The few exceptions were guys who played very sparingly in their tenures with the team. Bill Munson was a quarterback in the team’s first season who drowned in 2000. Wes Dove was a backup defensive end in 1987 who succumbed to his own demons and committed suicide. Glenn Montgomery was acquired in the trade the led to the draft acquisition of Pete Kendall in 1996, even though nobody knew that Montgomery was in the early stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease which would claim his life two years later.
I apologize if I missed any others. Those three men all left behind loved ones who mourned their passings, yet they were mere footnotes in the history of the Seattle Seahawks.
Dave Brown is the first ever Seahawk to pass away who was truly a Seahawk to the core. Brown passed away Tuesday from a heart attack. He was 53.
Brown was an original Seahawk from 1976. He was selected in Seattle’s expansion draft from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had drafted him in the first round of the college draft the previous year. He played safety early on, but moved to cornerback when it became very evident that he was among the most talented defensive players on the team. In 1977, he scored his first career touchdown on an interception against Kansas City in Arrowhead Stadium – the defining moment of a 34-31 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brown remained a consistent yet unheralded performer until the majestic 1984 Seahawks campaign. That year, in his 10th NFL season, Brown was named to the Pro Bowl and earned all-NFL honors. His most dominant performance came at home vs. the Chiefs in a 45-0 blowout on November 4, 1984. In that game, Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns – one from 90 yards and the second from 58.
Dave Brown had established himself as a leader of the defense and a true warrior on the field. He remains the Seahawks’ all-time leader in interceptions with 50, a record that will not be surpassed anytime soon. Eugene Robinson is 8 behind with 42. The highest total of any active Seahawk is second-year safety Michael Boulware.
He has nine career interceptions.
Brown finished his career with Green Bay, but came back to the Seahawks as an assistant coach in 1992. As defensive backs coach under Tom Flores and later Dennis Erickson, Brown helped lead some defenses that left everything on the field, only to collapse as Seattle’s offenses were unable to put points on the board. Brown coached some great young defensive players, from Robinson to Robert Blackmon, and even a young high draft choice named Shawn Springs, who was named to the Pro Bowl in his second year, which unfortunately was Dave Brown’s last year with the organization.
All told, Dave Brown could call himself a Seattle Seahawk for 11 years as a player and 7 years as a coach. Do the math - Brown was DIRECTLY part of the Seahawks family for 18 of the team’s 30 years. He was a leader, a captain, a coach and was an easy selection as the third man in the Seahawks Ring of Honor in 1992.
When people remember the great names of Seahawks lore, I fear they omit the ball-hawking Dave Brown. Dave Brown is the first ever true SEAHAWK to pass on to the next plane. He is survived by all his tremendous contemporaries from Jim Zorn, Ken Easley and Steve Largent - even Jack Patera, his first Seahawk coach, most recently raised our 12th man flag.
The raising of that flag has become an exciting honor for the great names in Seahawks history in recent years. The team has been coy about who might raise the flag for this Saturday’s playoff match against the Washington Redskins.
It no longer matters who raises that flag. It only matters that the flag be raised at half-mast. For the first true Seahawk to leave us.
The great Dave Brown.