Cortez Kennedy remembered for dominance on the field, generosity off
As news of Cortez Kennedy's death stunned the NFL community Tuesday, former teammates and coaches remembered the Seattle Seahawks Hall of Fame defensive tackle for his dominance on the field and his generosity off of it.
"He took care of everybody," said Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who played two seasons with Kennedy and grew closer to him after they both retired. "Everybody loved him in that building. You just hate to see a guy lose his life this early because he had so much more to offer."
Kennedy, who was 48, played 11 seasons with the Seahawks and made the Pro Bowl eight times. He had 58 career sacks and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
"There's so much to be gained and learned from every player in the NFL in knowing what Cortez was about. Never bragged. Never was critical. Never got angry at anybody in the media or anything like that. He was a total humble gentleman off the field, and then on the field he was just a total holy terror. That's how you should be as a football player. That's what stands out to me."
In 1992, Kennedy had 14 sacks and was named Defensive Player of the Year even though the Seahawks went 2-14.
Wyman said Kennedy had the utmost respect from his peers even though fans might have underrated him because the Seahawks didn't have a lot of games on national television.
The only time the Seahawks made the playoffs with Kennedy was in 1999. Quarterback Brock Huard was a rookie on that team.
When Moon became Kennedy's teammate in Seattle, he marveled at how Kennedy went out of his way to befriend everyone in the organization. Moon said Kennedy would be remembered most for his generosity.
"The equipment guys don't get a lot of love," Moon said. "They're always being asked to do stuff -- whether it's new shoes or another jockstrap. It's always somebody coming to them, saying, 'I need, I need, I need.' Well, he's a guy that would give to these guys. He would take them to dinner at times as a group. He would buy those guys lunch and just have it delivered to them in the equipment room. Whatever it was, even after he wasn't here in Seattle anymore, he would come back and he'd still take those guys out. He just never forget who they were. And they always remembered him for that.
"Not a lot of guys are like that as professional athletes. They're always asking for stuff, always expecting things. Cortez wasn't a guy that expected anything, and when he did get something, he always seemed to return that favor."