Seahawks and Miami Hurricanes great Cortez Kennedy, newly minted Pro Football Hall of Famer, tells a story shared in Bruce Feldman's essential 'Cane Mutiny about teammate Randy Shannon's efforts to trim him down, along with a note on his recruitment by Jimmy Johnson. Cortez Kennedy used to be really, really big, you see!
How did you find your way to the University of Miami?:
"You get a guy like Jimmy Johnson. When I went on my recruiting trip, they were playing for the national championship. So do I want to go to Arkansas, Memphis State or the University of Miami? I said, I've got to go to the University of Miami. They're playing for the national championship and one day I'll have a chance to play for the national championship. The first year I was there, we were close. ... The next year we won the national championship in '89, so it worked out."
When did you realize you were going to be a great football player?:
"I knew I was special when Randy Shannon ... used to stay in my apartment and watched the refrigerator so I wouldn't get up and eat late at night, would get up early in the morning at the University of Miami, working out three times a day, not eating that much, drinking a lot of water. Randy, he'd play a lot of mind games with me and he was there for me. He taught me how to work. ... We're running 110-yard sprints and Coach Johnson liked to play mind games. He'd say, ‘Cortez didn't make it. We've got to run another one.' You don't want the guys pissed off at you so I said, ‘Randy, I didn't make it.' He said, ‘Cortez, don't worry about it. Coach Johnson's trying to play mind games with you so you can quit.' I never did quit."
Some guys like to try to downplay the Hall of Fame. You've been pretty excited:
"The last three years I didn't think I'd have a chance, but last year, I was like, ‘Well, I might have a chance.' ... I started getting nervous. Then, if [not getting in] was the the worst thing I'd have to deal with, I'd be OK, but I did want to get in because you look at the guys I played with - John Randle, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Matthews - all those guys I played with in the Pro Bowl, I said, hopefully one day I get that chance. When I saw it on TV Saturday that I'd be an enshrinee, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.'"
On being happy for Seattle fans:
"I'm very happy for the Seahawks fans. That decade that we lost, probably under .500 ... the Seahawks fans had to endure so much and I'm so proud of them and the Seahawks organization that we have a second person in the Hall of Fame."
What do you remember feeling when you realized your career was taking you to Seattle?:
"I knew Brian Blades, so I knew he was playing up there and he used to come back and work out at the University of Miami. ... The whole city embraced me when I was there."
Are you nervous about the speech?:
"Everybody's been calling me to do this and do that. I said, I'm going to take the week off. I don't worry about no speech, I don't worry about who to invite. I'm just going to enjoy the moment."
For more on the Canes, visit Miami blog The Seventh Floor.