No longer a child, not yet middle-aged, and still finding their place in the NFL world.

...the 30-year wall of silence is an impressive achievement for a League that leaks as a lifestyle.

He recommended Jack Patera enthusiastically for the Seahawks...

The letter C is coming soon!

The Seahawks used Williams’ local reputation as a promotional tool, as they would do (very briefly) with Ahmad Rashad.

The average Seahawk selected in the veteran allocation is 6-2, 222 pounds, just under 26 years old and is entering his fourth NFL season.

The Seahawks played the Rams...facing off against future Seahawk coaches Chuck Knox, Tom Catlin and Ken Meyer. decided early to pursue coaches with no NFL head coaching experience.

Patera had the boldness to recruit 3 coaches with no NFL service...

...why was there no place for one of the ultimate local heroes of the early 1970s – Sonny Sixkiller?

Thompson may have looked on paper like a conservative and safe manager for a new team with first-time owners, but...

...reports from the camp are unclear as to who did the special team evaluations.

As a defensive coach, Jack Patera valued his linebackers.

Maybe we'll come up with something soon!

...nobody else on the Seahawks squad took their dislike quite to the extent of Ahmad Rashad.

The Nordstroms were an obvious possibility because of their wealth and local presence.

Approximately 14 members of that squad would never play for the Seahawks again.

A simple lesson in draft history is to list the fate of quarterbacks for several years before 1976.

Jack Patera was unable to take a single Redskin veteran from the allocation list.

...the Seahawks’ offense would be directed by 3 men who had 2 years of NFL experience between them

Terry Brown’s Seahawk career lasted less than 24 hours.

...we think this story might just have been a good Patera Prank!

While Patera had an inside edge on stocking his team with Vikings, he only chose one Viking from the allocation...

Character would clearly play a part...

Patera lived up to his code of we will tolerate you until we can replace you...

Yes! We will have something for Y eventually!

What more need we say?

N is for Not staying
The expansion teams were, naturally, not everyone’s preferred destination in 1976. Some players were unhappy with being released by their old teams as a sign of how little they had been appreciated (see Allocation).

However, nobody else on the Seahawks squad took their dislike quite to the extent of Ahmad Rashad.

Rashad was undoubtedly a prize acquisition for the team. Despite concerns about a knee injury that had kept him out of football in 1975, he had been an elite-level receiver whom the Seahawks wanted enough to make a substantial offer as he played out his option with the Bills.

However, Rashad did not feel an equal attraction to his home town — or to anything much apart from his self-interest. His book Vikes, Mikes, and Something on the Backside makes it clear that his mind was somewhere else during the negotiations.

I was intent on playing out my option and getting a better salary deal, when the knee injury destroyed the 1975 season for me. Overnight, I went from being a guy on the threshold of an All-Pro year to a seriously injured receiver with no commitment to any team. My original NFL contract with the Cardinals set my base salary at thirty–thirty-five–forty thousand dollars over the three-year period, plus my signing bonus and incentive clauses.

My hope before my injury was to get $100,000 a year from Buffalo, and that was still my target figure for 1976. The Bills offered me $90,000; the Seattle Seahawks expansion team offered me $125,000. The negotiations went down to the wire until I had a Seattle contract sitting on a desk before me, waiting for a signature. I called the Buffalo people and told them I was ready to sign with the Seahawks, even though I would much rather have played in Buffalo — even for $25,000 less. Not only did the Bills refuse to pony up the extra ten grand, they told me they were withdrawing their final offer of $90,000.

I signed with Seattle, only to have the Bills’ front office call me back a few minutes later, saying they wanted me at $100,000. They told me not to worry, I could get out of the Seattle contract.

I couldn’t get out of the Seattle contract.

At least he was honest about what he wanted.

For all the lure of the extra money, it is difficult to see why Rashad would have worked so hard to play the Seahawks off against the Bills for a mere $10,000. An expansion team was hardly the place for him to continue his rise to the All-Pro status he craved, and anyone with his knowledge should have foreseen the losses and low statistics that come with an expansion team. It would take a genuine legend in Steve Largent to make an impression in 1976: in the same year, Rashad could not get close to Largent’s performance, even with the support of the Vikings’ system.

In addition, his book goes into length about the poor relationship he had had with Bob Hollway during their year together at the Cardinals.

Part of the problem was that I just wasn’t ready to deal with a Bob Hollway after having a great coach like Jerry Frei. I couldn’t believe that at the peak of your profession, in the NFL, you couldn’t have an opinion that wasn’t endorsed by the coach. That would get me in plenty of trouble. When somebody in a meeting asked what was wrong with the team, most of the guys would button up and mutter some clichés about desire. I’d just say what I honestly thought.

Hollway was exactly the kind of cold, demanding and hard coach that Rashad could not work with — but that Jack Patera could. If Rashad had any illusions about a coaching philosophy that Bob Hollway could work with, they were surely his own illusions.

It should also be noted that while Rashad felt free to accuse Hollway of many things as head coach of the Cardinals — including tacit racism — Hollway seems to have been happy enough to accept Rashad at Seattle. As the only member of the Seahawks staff who had coached him, Hollway would have had crucial input into whether Rashad was worth recruiting (and worth paying so much for). This was the same coaching and staff group that had spent hours before the draft debating whether Chuck Muncie had the right character to work with the team: it is inconceivable that the group had done any less work discussing Rashad. If Hollway had vetoed Rashad, it seems unlikely that the team would have continued to pursue him.

Rashad’s negotiations for his magic $100,000 contract went “down to the wire”; but it is not clear where the wire was. If the Bills refused to budge from its $90,000 offer, there can’t have been much negotiating involved before Rashad signed his contract. And, significantly, there was no counter-offer from the Buccaneers, where Jerry Frei was offensive coordinator.

It is also unclear why Rashad had so much trouble getting out of his contract. The Seahawks had a valuable addition to the roster, but the Bills were perfectly able to try to deal for the prized commodity if they had wanted to. Jack Patera was hardly likely to cling to a single receiver (on a repaired knee) if the Bills had been willing to offer real value in a trade. But there is no record that the Bills made any effort at all to keep Rashad.

Rashad’s impact at Seattle was limited. His book is as disparaging about Patera and Jerry Rhome, as it is about Hollway and every other coach who did not pay him proper respect; but his fellow players barely got to know him before he went to the Vikings. Art Kuehn described him as a “non factor” in the team’s preparations, while Steve Raible’s book Tales From the Seahawks Sidelines politely notes that Steve Largent produced the performance that the team did not see from Rashad.

In the end, Patera traded Rashad to the Vikings for Bob Lurtsema. Rashad’s book is ungenerous about the trade:

Like the Cardinals two years earlier, Patera probably thought I would hate shipping out to a team that played in a cold northern climate.

Without missing a beat, I said, “You mean the Minnesota Vikings? The team that has Fran Tarkenton? The team that’s been to the Super Bowl three times?”

Of course, the Seahawks were also a team that would be playing in a cold northern climate. If Patera thought Rashad couldn’t handle the conditions, why would he have offered $125,000 for him in the first place?

But despite his sarcasm, Rashad should have been dazzled by the trade. The Vikings were the team that Jack Patera had helped into those three Super Bowls and a team which Patera knew intimately. Patera had sent Rashad to a team that would give him a much better opportunity to perform than the Seahawks would, rather than shopping him around to less successful teams as a punishment. Patera appears to have done much more for Rashad than Rashad did in the opposite direction.

Despite his optimism about an All-Pro year, Vikings’ rookie receiver Sammy White would go to the Pro Bowl in 1976 rather than Rashad. Rashad would have to wait until 1978 for the first of his 4 Pro Bowl appearances.

He would be joined in Honolulu by Steve Largent — playing in the first of his 7 Pro Bowl appearances along the way to the Hall of Fame. |
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