The Emerald City has taken another hard hit. Following the news that Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s death, Seattle learned that Seahawks great, Cortez Kennedy, was found dead Tuesday. Orlando Police originally reported that their was a call response for a patient at the Kennedy home who was unconscious with no vitals. It was later confirmed to be the Seahawk great, ‘Tez.
Kennedy is one of only four Seahawks to have made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after playing their entire career in Seattle, and one of three to have his number retired by the team. The former defensive tackle played all 11 seasons of his career, from 1990 to 2000, with the Seattle Seahawks. He made a name for himself on the field as one of the best defensive tackles ever to step on the grid iron. However, football was not everything for Cortez Kennedy.
Tez loved the fans. He was named Seahawks ambassador and a fan and reporter favorite. During his playing career, he loved seeing fans around the Seattle area, and with his infectious laugh and larger than life demeanor, he was like a big teddy bear. And he was a joker. Former teammate Dave Wyman remembered a time during training camp that he had gotten up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Tez snuck in, hid in his closet and then jumped out to scare him. He was the only Seahawk who would attend press conferences and call on each reporter by name, showing them respect he felt everyone deserved. Around the city of Seattle, he had a hard time not being recognized at 6′-3″ and 305 pounds. And when he was recognized, he was always happy to spend time with fans, even if it was just a brief high five walking down the street.
Cortez Kennedy was a Pro Bowl selection eight times, and from 1992 to 1994 he was a All-NFL first team selection. His work on the field landed him a spot on the 1990s NFL’s All-Decade team. He was released by the Seahawks after the 2000 season. He had offers from other teams to come play, but he had no desire to play anywhere but Seattle, and after two years, while he said he could have still played for a few years, but was happy with his decision, and officially retired in 2002 as a Seattle Seahawk. Ten years later he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Steve Largent, Walter Jones, and Cortez Kennedy are the only three Seahawks to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, be members of the team’s Ring of Honor, and to have their numbers retired. The highlight of Kennedy’s career may have been in the 92 season when he was considered one of the best in the league, despite Seattle only winning two games, but he led the team to the playoffs once in his career. It was a loss to the Miami Dolphins, but it ended up being the final sporting event played at the Kingdome, according to the Seattle Times. Soon after, the Kingdome was imploded to make way for the new Seattle Seahawks stadium. On the other side of the dome, was the house that Griffey built, but the new home for the Seahawks, Tez, was a major force drawing in the fans each week.
Cortez Kennedy was born in Osceola, Arkansas on August 23, 1968. He played his college football under future Seattle Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson at Miami, and was the number 3 draft pick. Tez is survived by his 22-year-old daughter, Courtney, and his parents, Joe and Ruby Harris. The Seattle football icon was due back in the Emerald City on Thursday to help with a 2018 Special Olympics fundraiser.
Commentary by Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Facebook