Well before John McClane was battling German terrorist Hans Gruber at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles, the original “Die-Hards” were the Seahawks 3-4 defensive front comprised of left D-End Jacob Green, Nose Tackle Joe Nash, and right D-End Jeff Bryant. The trio were nicknamed the Die-Hards after being founded in 1983 under head coach Chuck Knox. They played together as a unit for the next six (6) seasons until 1990; when future Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy was drafted by the Seahawks. After drafting The Tez, Knox changed the team’s defensive scheme to a four (4) man front. These three guys were the bedrock of the Hawks defense every Sunday for nearly a decade; an amazing feat. When asked why they were called the Die-Hards? Green was quoted ”Because we always start.” Let’s take a closer look at their career.
Jeff “Boogey” Bryant #77
6’5″, 276 pounds, Clemson
Bryant was drafted by the Seahawks as the 6th overall pick in the 1982 draft. His entire 12 year NFL career ended in the 1993 season at the age of 33. He played in 175 games (started 167) and recorded 63 sacks. His hometown is Atlanta, Georgia and he won a National Championship playing for Clemson. While at college he got the nickname of “Boogey” because of his dance skills and the name stuck with him in the NFL. After each victory, Chuck Knox and Boogey would lead the team in a cheer of “Hip, Hip, Hooray!”.
Joe “Slipper” Nash #72
6’3″, 278 pounds, Boston College
Nash was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seahawks in 1982. He spent the next 15 years of his career fighting in the trenches for the Hawks defense. His last season was in 1996. Nash has played in the most games ever (218) to hold a franchise record. He racked up 779 tackles and 47.5 sacks, but his bailiwick was blocking kicks (8 field goals and 2 PATs), for which he also holds the franchise record. The nickname of slipper was coined for him by Assistant Coach George Dyer because Nash’s stance was relaxed and appeared flatfooted; as if Nash should be in a leather recliner smoking a pipe with slippers on. He has returned to his hometown of Boston where he works in the banking industry.
Jacob Green #79
6’3″, 255 pounds, Texas A&M
Green was a first round pick (10th overall) for the Seahawks in the 1980 draft. He ended up playing 12 seasons for the Seahawks and his final season was with the 49ers. He holds the Hawks franchise record for sacks (116) along with a club record for forced fumbles (28). Green played in 178 games (4th in franchise history) and started 176 games (2nd in franchise history). Not only was he a productive player, but he was also a team leader. In 1995, he was inducted into the Ring of Honor.
Green had great speed for such a big guy, which can be seen in this clip of him running back a fumble recovery for a 79 yard touchdown against the New York Jets in 1985; a lineman’s dream.
Green has hosted an annual golf charity tournament for cancer for the past 26 years. Coincidentally, his son-in-law is current Seahawks D-End Red Bryant (also a Texas A&M alum) and wears the #79 jersey.