Seven years ago, as a rookie, the “Hammer” showed up in Seattle and took the league by storm with 96 tackles, ten pass breakups and one really nasty hit on Donte Stallworth that knocked Stallworth’s helmet off and officially announced Ken Hamlin’s presence in the NFL. Hamlin kept it up in 2004 by starting all 16 games for the Seahawks. Then, seven weeks into the 2005 season, Hamlin was involved in an altercation off the field where multiple hits to the head by a street sign fractured Hamlin’s skull and rendered him in critical condition. He was able to play and start again in 2006, but, with off the field concerns and a reduction in production, the Seahawks decided to let him walk to the Cowboys.
Dallas became far too excited about Hamlin’s 2007 Pro Bowl appearance/return to form and gave the safety a 6-year, $38 million deal. That probably wasn’t the best move for either party. Since then, despite improving off the field and being named captain for the 2008 season, the “Hammer” hasn’t even reached “Gavel” level (credit the thesaurus wife for the analogy), leading to his release in April of this year. Last week, he was signed by Baltimore with a chance to start anew for 2010 alongside Ray Lewis and fellow safety Ed Reed.
Ken Hamlin joined Bruce Cunningham and Mark Zinno on 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore to discuss signing with Baltimore, his second life in the NFL, playing with Lewis and Reed and the new Cowboys’ Stadium.
On signing with Baltimore:
“I’m just glad that everything worked out the way that it did and that I’m a part of the Baltimore… I think that the organization is a great organization. The fan base is great. And definitely the team, the team has been doing a great job over the last few years. They’ve made a lot of improvements and upgrades with the people that they’ve brought in. Add that to the talent that they already have there and it’s definitely a big plus.”
On his initial reaction upon hearing that he’d be a Raven:
“You got to think about it. It’s a different city. Definitely playing there as a visitor and being a part of the crowd and how the crowd supports the team. And then the defense. That’s the biggest thing. Knowing who you’re going to be playing with day in and day out, practicing with day in and day out. It’s big. I think there’s definitely a good opportunity for me. I’m glad that they looked at me for a chance to play on their team.”
On if he views this opportunity as his second life in the NFL:
“I’ve had my second wind already. This is a phenomenal opportunity. Things happen whether it’s business or whatever in this league. I understand the business side of things. I understand these aren’t times when a guy is going to be on the team forever. All I know is that when I strap on my pads and I put that jersey on, the Raven fans and the coaches and the players know that they’re going to get someone who is going to be out and working as hard as he can and going as fast as he can.”
On playing alongside Ray Lewis and Ed Reed:
“Those guys have been making plays and making their name known for some years now in the league, not just in the AFC. They’ve been doing it where they’re recognized in the NFL period. It’s an honor to be playing with these type of guys. Ed, being at the same position, and just being able to pick his brain a little bit with the type of things he does. Watching him play, watching him practice. Watching Ray practice and play and being able to talk to him to get the knowledge of how they run their defense and how I can be a part of it. It’s going to be big.”
And on playing in the Cowboys’ new stadium:
“It’s definitely a movie being filmed every time you play in it.”