Jeff West Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bearcats – 1984 Topps
The University of Cincinnati’s Jeff West was like many players that came into the NFL years ago when the game was less specialized than it is today. West was a tight end and punter for the Bearcats from 1973-75 and spent a decade in the league as punter.
During his days with the Bearcats, he ranked third all-time in punting average with 41.9 yard per kick average over 132 kicks. He also holds Cincinnati’s mark for most punting yards in a single season with 3,192 yards in 1974 on 77 punts.
Following his senior season, West played in the All-Ohio Shrine Bowl game as a tight end. The game was played from 1972-76, according to the Bearcats’ Web site, and featured the top players from 33 Ohio colleges and universities. The games were played at Ohio Stadium and Riverfront Stadium, according to press clippings.
He was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of the 1975 NFL Draft to challenge Ohio University product Dave Green following the trade of West German place kicker Horst Muhlmann to the Philidelphia Eagles. West, a native of Ravenna, Ohio, did not make the Bengals’ opening day roster and ended up appearing in 14 games for the old St. Louis Cardinals.
After just one season in St. Louis, West played the next five seasons with the San Diego Chargers. During his second season in San Diego, West had a chance to revert back to his college days as a receiver. He caught one pass that season for three yards for his only professional pass reception. He ended up changing his jersey number from 80 to 8 after the Chargers drafted Kellen Winslow in 1979.
After missing the 1980 season with injuries, West moved within the old AFC West division prior to the 1981 season when he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. During his last two full seasons with the Seahawks in 1983 and 84, West helped the club reach the playoffs for the first two times in franchise history. In 1983, Seattle made it to the AFC Championship title game where it fell to the eventual Super Bowl champs the Los Angeles Raiders.
During his time in Seattle, West was named the Seahawks Man of the Year for his ongoing work in the community and his achievements on the field.
As a pro, West’s best year came in 1976 when he averaged 40.6 yards per kick on 38 punts. Throughout his 10 year career, West punted the ball 621 times for a total of 23,641 yards and a 38.1 yard average. His career long punt was a 62 yard boot in 1979 while with the Chargers.