Tributes from all across the National Football League continue to pour out following the passing of former Seahawks star Cortez Kennedy, who passed away on Tuesday at just 48 years of age. Kennedy’s Hall of Fame credentials include eight Pro Bowls, five All-Pro honors, being selected to the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team, and winning Defensive Player of the Year during Seattle’s 2-14 campaign in 1992. Kennedy worked as a consultant for the New Orleans Saints after ending his playing days.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor wrote this short statement on his Instagram page,
“Wow I can't believe Cortez is gone at 48. I can say that he was one of the nicest professional men I've met. He used to always call me his "Hero". The stories we talked about from when he used to play were eye opening. Winning a ring and seeing how much that meant to him was cool coming from a legend, a Hall Of Famer. My condolences go out to the family and anyone else close to Cortez. I'm going to miss him around the practice facility this season.... R.I.P.”
The Seattle Times article on Kennedy’s death includes quotes from Mike Holmgren, Eugene Robinson, Chad Brown, Tom Flores, and Dave Wyman. Here are the lines from coaches Flores and Holmgren, as well as Robinson.
“He was great in the locker room. His teammates liked him. The coaches liked him. The public liked him. He just had great compassion for everybody around him and a great respect for the game and the people who surrounded him that made it all possible. He was very successful in life, too, because he didn’t throw his money away.”
“He was a great football player and a tough guy but he would laugh and he had a great sense of humor,” said former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who coached Kennedy during his final two years in Seattle in 1999 and 2000. “I so enjoyed him. This is a hard one for me. I think he was one of the good guys and I don’t think there is anything easy about this when it happens so suddenly.’’
Former Seahawks safety Eugene Robinson:
“I’m stunned,” said former standout Seattle safety Eugene Robinson, who played with Kennedy with the Seahawks from 1990-95, in a phone interview with the Times. “Besides being an incredible player he was a very good friend. Tez is incredibly compassionate, thinks about others. He’s always been that way. He values others more highly than himself and he just loved life. Loved people, loved life. He loved being a football player. He just liked all that came with it — the fun, the times you get together, all that stuff. And then just the grueling lock-it-up with your brother and play. … he was always just a really, really good friend.”
Plenty of current and ex-Seahawks expressed their condolences on social media, along with a host of famed NFL figures such as John Lynch, John Elway, Jimmy Johnson, and Saints head coach Sean Payton. Here’s a compilation of those tweets.
Prayers up for the family of Cortez Kennedy. A true legend gone too soon.— Mike Morgan (@Mike17mo) May 23, 2017
I'm in shock! The great Cortez was just walking through the favility the other day it feels like! RIP to one of the greatest to ever do it— Cassius Marsh (@KingCash_7191) May 23, 2017
Shocked to learn of the passing of Cortez Kennedy. I always loved the time I spent with him.— Clint Gresham (@Gresh49) May 23, 2017
Shocked at Cortez Kennedy passing..1 of the most talented players I ever recruited or coached...a fun loving person a sad day..— Jimmy Johnson (@JimmyJohnson) May 23, 2017
Gentle Giant who embraced & loved his teammates, even undeserving rookies. Love you Tez— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) May 23, 2017
Really sad to lose a guy like Cortez Kennedy. A great personality, a great player & I enjoyed competing against him. Prayers to his family.— John Elway (@johnelway) May 23, 2017
My prayers and thoughts are with Cortez Kennedy and his family. Tez was a good man, always smiling. God Bless and RIP big fella.— John Lynch (@JohnLynch49ers) May 23, 2017
In 1990 Seahawks draft Cortez Kennedy 3rd overall. Great career, great man. Now gone at 48. RIP Tez. NFL HOF, Seahawk ROH, ARK. BHOF.— Jim Zorn (@JimZorn10) May 23, 2017
Crushed to hear this.— Matthew Hasselbeck (@Hasselbeck) May 23, 2017
Despite being one of the best players of all time, Tez's humility will be what I think of first. https://t.co/PCerQuLHJg
This is one of my saddest days in my life to hear this news about Cortez Kennedy. He was my mentor and close friend and today is a struggle— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) May 23, 2017
Thoughts and prayers are with Cortez Kennedy's family. A great friend and the most genuine person you would ever want to meet.— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) May 23, 2017
A terrible day, RIP to a close friend and great mentor Cortez Kennedy. My heart goes out to his family and friends.— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) May 23, 2017