The NFL lost one of its best on Tuesday, when Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy died at just 48 years old. Kennedy anchored the Seahawks defensive line in the 1990s.
Kennedy was a great player on the field. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro, and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992. After he retired, the Cowboys offered him $1 million to play the final five games of the season, which he declined. According to Gil Brandt, Kennedy said it would have been “stealing money.”
Off the field, Cortez worked as an adviser for the New Orleans Saints, where he also made an impact.
The Seahawks said in a statement, “We are proud to have been represented by such a special person.”
There was a huge outpouring of love and support shown across the NFL after hearing of Kennedy’s death.
Many current and former Seahawks expressed their grief
Love this guy just a good person to me and mentor my heart hurts pic.twitter.com/ecKj2UjtUK— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) May 23, 2017
Sad day for the 12's shit hurts my heart RIP to a great football player but an even better person. #cortezkennedy— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) 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
Remembering as little Tacoma kid how Tez was a legend to the Seattle area. Blessings & peace to family & friends https://t.co/UYtal2BxN2— Marcus Trufant (@MarcusTrufant) May 23, 2017
Heartbroken by this news. We've lost an all-time great Seahawk and a truly extraordinary man. Tez will be forever missed. https://t.co/Uek1YEYTRy— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) May 23, 2017
Our statement on the passing of Cortez Kennedy. pic.twitter.com/yVtBfMdyp5— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) May 23, 2017
Our 12 Flag at VMAC flies half-staff to honor Seahawks Legend Cortez Kennedy. pic.twitter.com/v98MBkvgyg— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) May 23, 2017
CenturyLink Field paid tribute to Kennedy’s memory:
His tenure with the Saints clearly left a mark as well:
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
Rest In Peace Cortez... we've lost a legend. My prayers and condolences go out to his family https://t.co/NI6IUFRKFb— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) May 23, 2017
Saints GM Mickey Loomis released the following statement, which included how Kennedy was the godfather to two of his children:
“Today, the NFL lost a legend and a Hall of Fame player. Joe and Ruby Harris, his parents, lost a loving son, and his beautiful daughter Courtney lost the most caring and best father I know. My wife, Melanie, and I, my sons, Alex and Sam, and daughters, Katherine and Lucy, are devastated by this loss. Cortez is godfather to Lucy, and Samuel Cortez bears his name.”
Statement from Tom and Gayle Benson on the passing of Cortez Kennedy: pic.twitter.com/gnUgprnAfS— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 23, 2017
His University of Miami family felt the loss:
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
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
Other members of the NFL fraternity also expressed their condolences:
RIP Tez. He was a great mentor. Feel blessed to have known him. (Left to right: Rocky, Tez, me, Red) pic.twitter.com/LuXliZMPhY— Brandon Mebane (@Mebane92) May 23, 2017
Can't believe that Cortez Kennedy has passed. We're the same age, same daft (1990) and played in same division for 10 yrs. RIP TEZ— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) May 23, 2017
Hall of Famer on off the field. Condolences to the family and friends of Cortez Kennedy. Sad day— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) May 23, 2017
The NFL mourns, but looking at the outpouring, Kennedy’s legacy will live on.