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Seahawks RB Ricky Watters Named 2023 Hall of Fame Semi-Finalist

Two decades after hanging up his cleats, Ricky Watters remains in the hunt for a coveted spot in Canton as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2023, while Shaun Alexander will have to wait another year.

Among 28 semi-finalists announced by the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, former Seahawks running back Ricky Watters remains in consideration for induction in the modern era Class of 2023 next year.

As for other prominent former Seahawks on the ballot, 2005 MVP Shaun Alexander and quarterback Dave Krieg didn't advance past the initial round as nominees.

Watters, who starred for 10 NFL seasons with three teams after a sensational college career at Notre Dame, also was announced as a semi-finalist in 2020. Drafted in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft by San Francisco, he missed his entire rookie season due to injury before breaking out with 1,013 rushing yards in 1992. He eventually helped the team win the Lombardi Trophy by beating the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.

From 1992 to 1996, Watters earned Pro Bowl honors five consecutive seasons, amassing over 5,500 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns on the ground while hauling in 253 passes and nine touchdowns as a receiver during that span.

After four seasons with the 49ers and three seasons with the Eagles, Watters joined the Seahawks as a free agent in 1998 and finished his career with three productive seasons after turning 30 years old. Before passing the torch to Alexander midway through the 2001 season, he rushed for 4,009 yards and 22 touchdowns while also adding 1,480 receiving yards and four additional touchdowns in 53 games with the franchise.

Despite boasting one of the most impressive stretches by a running back in NFL history from 2001 to 2005 with five consecutive seasons producing over 1,100 rushing yards and double-digit rushing touchdowns, Alexander hasn't been able to gain any traction in his bid for a spot in Canton. Since becoming eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013, "Alexander the Great" hasn't been named a semi-finalist once, though he recently was inducted into Seattle's Ring of Honor in October.

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Like Alexander, Krieg has been a frequent nominee for the Hall of Fame since retiring after the 1998 season. But the three-time Pro Bowler has never been a semi-finalist despite throwing 261 career touchdown passes during an era where teams relied more heavily on the run game. At this stage, his chances of making it into Canton seem slim-to-none.

Aside from Watters, defensive end Dwight Freeney and kick return specialist Devin Hester are the only other semi-finalists with previous Seahawks ties. Freeney produced a trio of sacks in four games with Seattle in his final season in 2017, while Hester joined the team for the playoffs in 2016 before announcing his retirement. Guard Jahri Evans spent time with the Seahawks in training camp in 2017, but was surprisingly released and never played in a game for the organization.

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