Cortez Kennedy

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Cortez’s Enshrinement Speech

Full name: Cortez Kennedy
Birthdate: August 23, 1968
Birthplace: Osceola, Arkansas
Date of Death: May 23, 2017
Place of Death: Orlando, Florida
High School: Rivercrest (Wilson, Arkansas)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: February 4, 2012
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 4, 2012
Pro Career: 11 Seasons, 167 Games
Drafted: 1st round (3rd overall) in 1990 by Seattle

ProFootball_logo140The Seattle Seahawks used the third overall selection of the 1990 NFL Draft on All-America defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy from the University of Miami (FL). The move proved to be wise as Kennedy became a fixture on the Seahawks defensive line for 11 seasons. Extremely durable, he did not miss a single game until his eighth season.

In his rookie season, Kennedy played in all 16 games, two of which were starts. He produced impressive numbers including a season-high 10 tackles and a sack against the Miami Dolphins. For his efforts, he was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team.

The following season Kennedy moved into a full-time starting role at right defensive tackle for the Seahawks and responded by earning his first Pro Bowl berth. In 1992, despite the Seahawks finishing with a disappointing 2-14 record, Kennedy was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. It marked just the third time in league history that a player from a losing team won the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year Award. He led Seattle that season with a career-high 14 sacks, the most of any interior lineman, and also recorded a career-best 92 tackles, recovered one fumble and batted down two passes.

Although he was often double- or even triple-teamed Kennedy managed to lead or rank near the top in tackles each season. In 1996, he was voted to a team record sixth consecutive Pro Bowl and also was named the team’s MVP and the winner of the Steve Largent Award given to the player that best exemplified the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks. He added two more Pro Bowls following the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

Kennedy recorded one of his finest seasons in 1999. A ten-year veteran, he started all 16 games, recorded 73 tackles, 6.5 sacks and intercepted two passes to help the Seahawks reach the playoffs for the first time since 1988.

In all, he registered 58 sacks, intercepted three passes and scored one touchdown on a fumble recovery during his 167-game career. He twice led the team in sacks (1992 and 1995).

Aside from his eight Pro Bowls, Kennedy was named first-team All-NFL in 1992, 1993 and 1994, selected second-team All-Pro twice, All-AFC four times and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

Kennedy died on May 23, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. He was 48.

Pro Bowls
(8) – 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000

Team Records
Seahawks’ records held by Kennedy
(Records through the 2000 season, Kennedy’s final season with Seattle)
• (3rd) Most Consecutive Games Played – 116 (1990-1997)

Team Statistical Championships
Sack Titles: 1992, 1995

Awards and Honors
• 1990s All-Decade Team
• 1992 Defensive Player of the Year (AP, PW)
• Seattle Seahawks 35th Anniversary Team (2010)
• Seahawks Ring of Honor (2006)