|No. 96, 99|
|Born:||August 23, 1968|
|Died:||May 23, 2017 (aged 48)|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||306 lb (139 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1990 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Cortez Kennedy (August 23, 1968 – May 23, 2017) was an American professional football player who was a defensive tackle for his entire 11-season career with the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He redefined and expanded the possibilities of how a large-bodied interior lineman could be used. In 1992 he won the Defensive Player of the Year award despite his team finishing 2–14.
Kennedy was born in Osceola, Arkansas, but grew up in the nearby town of Wilson, Arkansas. He graduated from Rivercrest High School in Wilson, and attended Northwest Mississippi Community College before being awarded a football scholarship to the University of Miami, where he was named an All-American in 1989.
Kennedy was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was the third overall selection in the 1990 draft by the Seahawks, and was unsigned until two days before the beginning of the season. Kennedy was named to the Pro Bowl in 1991. In 1992, having recorded 14 quarterback sacks, he received the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press despite the Seahawks 2–14 record. He switched his jersey number to 99 that season in honor of close friend Jerome Brown, and was named First- or Second-team All-Pro five times.
Kennedy retired after the 2000 season. In 167 games with Seattle, he recorded 668 tackles, 58 sacks, and three interceptions. He announced his retirement in August 2002 after sitting out the 2001 season. He was given several offers by other teams, but wanted to finish his career in Seattle. He is generally considered one of the best defensive tackles to ever play the position in the NFL. He was a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, as well as a finalist in 2009 and 2011, eventually being elected to the Hall as a member of the 2012 induction class. He was the second Hall of Famer to earn his credentials primarily as a Seahawk.
After retiring, Kennedy worked as an advisor for the New Orleans Saints, whose general manager, Mickey Loomis, had previously worked for the Seahawks. Kennedy later moved to Arkansas and Orlando, Florida, where he raised his daughter Courtney and focused on her education.
In 2006, Kennedy was inducted into the Seahawks' Ring of Honor. His jersey number, 96, was retired by the Seahawks during a game against the New England Patriots on October 14, 2012.
In 2007, Kennedy was named the best athlete ever to wear the number 96 by SI.com.
|NFL Defensive Player of the Year|
Kennedy died on May 23, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. He was 48 years old. According to police, Kennedy was alone when he died. In the days leading up to his death, Kennedy had experienced symptoms of heart failure, including swollen legs and dizziness, which led to him being hospitalized. Following his death, Wilson, Arkansas, named its stretch of U.S. Highway 61 in his honor.