Cortez Kennedy, Seattle Seahawks Outstanding Tackle, Defensive Player of the Year and Professional Football Hall of Famer.
Cortez Kennedy was born on August 23, 1968 in Osceola, Arkansas. He spent his childhood in another equally modest town of Wilson. There he graduated from high school, after which he entered the Northwest Mississippi Community College. Only after that Kennedy managed to get a sports scholarship at the University of Miami.
Cortez played in the Hurricanes from 1987 to 1989. Twice he, together with the team, became the winner of the national championship, won the prestigious Sugar and Orange bowls. In 1989, Kennedy was recruited into the NCAA All-Star Team. Later, for his services, he was elected to the Sports Hall of Fame at the University of Miami.
In the 1990 Draft, the Seahawks picked him overall third. In his debut season, Kennedy took to the field in every game and joined the league rookie squad. A year later, he was already the main right-wing de-tackle of Seattle and for the first time in his career received an invitation to Pro Bowl. In 1992, although the team finished the regular season with a score of 2-14, Cortez was named Defensive Player of the Year and included in the first All-Pro squad. Almost invariably, Kennedy was among the leaders in terms of the number of captures made, although he often had to confront two, or even three, opponents. In the 1999 season, thanks in large part to his successful work, Seahawks made the playoffs for the first time in ten years. In total, Cortez played for eleven years with Seattle, played 167 matches in the regular season, chalked up 668 tackles and 58 sacks. The last time in team uniform, he entered the field in 2000, and officially retired in 2002. He had offers from other teams, but Kennedy did not see himself in other colors. In 2006, Seahawks introduced him to the franchise's Circle of Honor, and a few later removed No. 96 from circulation. In 2012, Cortez was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the NFL All-Star Team of the 1990s. Sports Illustrated magazine named him the # 96 Best Athlete Ever in 2007. He is also a member of the NFL All-Star Team of the 1990s. Sports Illustrated magazine named him the # 96 Best Athlete Ever in 2007. He is also a member of the NFL All-Star Team of the 1990s. Sports Illustrated magazine named him the # 96 Best Athlete Ever in 2007.
Immediately after the end of his career, Kennedy was appointed advisor to the general manager of the New Orleans Saints Mickey Loomis, who knew well from his days in Seattle. After several years in New Orleans, Cortez retired from football and focused on raising his daughter. Their family first lived in Arkansas, then in Orlando.
On May 23, 2017, Cortez Kennedy died suddenly. A few days earlier, he had been hospitalized with heart failure. In memory of him, the main street of Wilson, the city in Arkansas where he grew up, was renamed.