Former Seahawks running back and three-time Pro Bowler visits Centralia to sign autographs

Chris Warren reflects on his time in NFL, changes to the game and not being in the Seahawks Ring of Honor


Dozens of people showed up in downtown Centralia and lined up to meet former Seattle Seahawks running back and three-time Pro Bowler Chris Warren on Sunday.

He made an appearance during the Keiper’s Cards and Memorabilia Show in the Tower Plaza Mall on Sunday, May 5, to meet with fans and sign autographs.

During his time in the National Football League, Warren started off as a fourth round draft pick in 1990 playing special teams for Seattle. He worked his way up to starting running back for the Seahawks and faced off against some of the NFL’s most legendary defenders.

“Anytime you played Junior Seau, too, you never knew where he was gonna be on the field,” Warren said. “... And the Chiefs had Derrick Thomas, Bruce Smith with Buffalo, the AFC was loaded with all-time greats. They weren’t just good players. They were all-time greats. The golden era of football.”

Despite being division rivals and having to play Seau and the San Diego Chargers twice a season, Warren didn’t mind as the Chargers had the best field he played on in the old Qualcomm Stadium.

Facing off against the Chiefs and Thomas wasn’t too bad, either, as Kansas City has the best barbecue in Warren’s opinion. There was one place where he hated to play though — Philadelphia. 

“The worst fans, the worst field, the worst hotels we stayed in, the worst food. Philly was bad,” Warren said. “I’m from D.C., though, so I don’t have too much to say about that city anyway.”

As for the NFL today, the rules have changed and styles of playing and practicing have evolved. Some, including some notable older players, don’t like these changes and believe the game is being altered negatively, but Warren disagrees.

“Football is football. You’re not going to say any era is more physical than the other. Strength is strength and speed is speed. I’m happy with the way the game is,” Warren said. “The most important thing about the game has not changed, and that’s blocking and tackling.”

One of the most controversial changes was the recent ban on hip-drop tackles, which many have publicly opposed. Warren again disagrees with them.

“They should change it. I don’t want my legs broken from somebody that doesn’t want to tackle me around the shoulders. (If they) just grab me from the side (of the legs) and pull their weight down, that’s not a tackle,” Warren said.

Getting his start on special teams, he’s had to make many tackles himself defending punt and kickoff returns.

And even during his time as the Seahawks’ starting running back, he would routinely have to block in pass protection and even make an occasional tackle. Warren recalled one game against the Green Bay Packers in 1996 when he had to tackle someone who many regard as the best defensive player the NFL has ever seen.

With about four minutes left in the game’s first quarter, Reggie White — a defensive end who would go on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame following his career with Philadelphia and Green Bay — intercepted a pass intended for Warren.

After catching the football, White began running the opposite direction to try to return the interception for a touchdown, and Warren gave chase.

“Reggie, he was a monster … I chased him down and tackled him on the sideline, trying to rip the ball out, and I hurt myself trying to take him down,” Warren said.

Tackling and other rule changes aside, an additional game has been added to the NFL’s regular season recently, which Warren also approved of. There are talks going on of adding another regular season game and reducing the number of preseason games from three to two.

In his opinion — if he were still playing — Warren would rather be playing more meaningful football games than wasting time with preseason games.

And despite being one of the bigger offensive weapons the Seahawks teams of the 1990s had, he is not in the team’s Ring of Honor.

“I had 1,000 yards every year I was in Seattle, whether it was running or just on punt and kick-off returns,” Warren said. “(Steve) Largent is the only one, maybe, who has more all-purpose yards than me.”

Warren was a Pro Bowl selection three seasons in a row. During one of those seasons in 1995, he also had 15 rushing touchdowns.

“And that’s not counting all the kick returns,” Warren added. “... There’s a lot of guys that should be in the Ring of Honor, though.”

Whether or not the Seahawks do add Warren’s name to the Ring of Honor is yet to be seen, but some fans at Sunday’s appearance floated the idea of starting an online campaign to get Seattle to add him to the Ring.

By the end of his time in Seattle in 1997, he held the franchise’s career rushing yard record, though he was eclipsed in 2005 by Seahawks running back Shawn Alexander.

Following his time in Seattle, Warren played for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles before retiring from the NFL after the 2000 season. Now that he’s retired, Warren enjoys traveling, cooking and fishing.

For those who missed Warren’s appearance but would still like his autograph, autographed cards and photos are available to purchase at Keiper’s Cards, located at 320 N. Tower Ave., suite 104, in Centralia.

To learn more and find out about future autograph signings, including former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle and Super Bowl XLVIII champion Joseph “Red” Bryant in August, follow Keiper’s Cards on Facebook or Instagram.