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Seahawks Ring of Honor: A conversation with Cortez Kennedy

Former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy poses with a bust of himself during the induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

As the Seahawks are heading to unprecedented heights, with expectations for the team higher than they’ve ever been, a lot of legends of Seahawks past are standing by to cheer them on.

“Once you’re a Seahawk, you’re always a Seahawk,” former NFL defensive tackle and Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy tells KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “We’re going to support these guys and we’re going to try to root them on.”

Kennedy spent just over a decade with the Seahawks, beginning in 1990. He made eight Pro Bowls during his 11 seasons and was named a first-team All-Pro three times. He was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1992, a remarkable accomplishment considering Seattle went 2-14 that season.

Back then, the Seahawks didn’t quite claim the frontrunner status like this current team has.

“We didn’t win that many football games,” Kennedy says.

Though parts of his tenure with the team was marked by offensive futility – like in 1992 when Seattle scored just 140 points, the fewest ever by an NFL team in a 16-game season – Kennedy says the defense saw that as even more reason to play its best.

“We didn’t get frustrated at all because we knew on the defensive side of the ball, we knew the offense was giving it their all, but they just weren’t getting it done,” says Kennedy. “We just said we’re just going to try to stay in the game somehow.”

Kennedy’s play earned him an induction to the Hall of Fame in 2012. At the time he played, Kennedy says such an honor was something he didn’t really consider.

“When you play, you don’t think about the Hall of Fame, but once I got through playing and I thought about my career I was like, woo, I was pretty good.”

Kennedy was watching TV at his house in Florida when he heard he was entering the Hall.

“When they said Cortez Kennedy I just jumped up in the air,” he says. “I was so excited.”

His excitement was on display too when he was first introduced to his Hall of Fame bust.

“I just looked at that bust and thought about all the hard work that I had to do to get there and the sacrifices and I said you know something, he need a kiss, a hug or something, he needs loving.”

Photographers snapped photos of Kennedy in a loving embrace with the statue.

While the Seahawks team of his era never made it to the Super Bowl, Kennedy says he and all his other former teammates are happy to ride the coattails of this team’s success.

“Everybody is so happy to see the Seahawks doing well,” says Kennedy. “It’s so exciting to see the team win and seeing Coach Carroll doing a great job getting the guys going and also it’s great to see the Seattle fans having a great time themselves.”

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