Cortez Gets the Call from the Hall

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February 4, 2012

By Bill Boehlke

Kennedy350_0205“I thought I’d get a call. I was just watching TV like everyone else, and then they called my name. They called my name. Can you believe it? It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

That TV program happened to be the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2012 selections special on the NFL Network, and the name called was Cortez Kennedy.

“I’ve never been happier,” said Kennedy. “Well, maybe when we won big games at UM or in Seattle. But I’m on top of the world right now for sure. Imagine, lil’ ol’ boy from Wilson, Arkansas.”

“(Miami) Coach Dennis Erickson used to tell us good things will keep happening if you keep hustling,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know if anything will ever be bigger than winning that ’89 national championship at Miami, but this is nice, real nice.”

And now Kennedy stands alongside Randy White, Mean Joe Greene and Bob Lilly among the greatest defensive tackles of all time. And he joins Steve Largent as the second player to enter the Hall who played his entire career with the Seahawks.

Joining Cortez among the 2012 selections are: Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Curtis Martin, and Willie Roaf. All six were also front and center for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis as honorary participants in the pre-game coin toss.

No defensive tackle ever made more Pro Bowls than Kennedy’s eight. To be sure, Kennedy has known heartbreak, too. He changed his uniform number from 96 to 92 for his ’92 season with the Seahawks, to honor his friend and fellow Hurricane, Jerome Brown, after Brown died in a car accident.

But making this Hall of Fame never seemed like anything more than a matter of time for Kennedy.

The Seahawks snatched him up as the third player in the 1990 NFL Draft, and he took it from there. Kennedy played in eight consecutive Pro Bowls, and he also joined Kenny Easley as the only Seahawks to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (in 1992).

It was the fourth year that Kennedy had been in consideration for selection into the Hall, and the waiting finally came to an end with that Saturday afternoon announcement.

“It was one of the greatest feelings in the world when my name was called out, but it was a long process,” said Kennedy.

Now Cortez will have six longth months to prepare his speech for the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Canton, Ohio this August.