Cortez: Countdown to Canton with Steve Largent

Posted Aug 2, 2012

Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4. We salute the achievement with some memories of Kennedy from some memorable individuals.

For almost 18 years, Steve Largent has been the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played his entire career for the Seahawks.

Largent, the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches when he retired after the 1989 season, was elected to – and induced into – the Hall in 1995. Others with connections to the franchise also have their busts on display in Canton, Ohio: Mike McCormack, an offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns from 1952-62 who was the Seahawks director of football operations and then president and general manager in the 1980s; Warren Moon, who quarterbacked the Seahawks in 1997-98 after already putting up Hall of Fame numbers with the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings; defensive lineman John Randle, who played three seasons with the Seahawks (2001-03) at the end of his career that began with the Vikings; Jerry Rice, who broke all of Largent’s records with the San Francisco 49ers before playing for the Seahawks in 2004; defensive end Carl Eller, another former Viking who played one season in Seattle (1979); and Franco Harris, a Seahawk for eight games in 1984 after a Super-productive run with Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Largent is about to get company, as Cortez Kennedy will join him in Canton when the dominating defensive tackle is inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 4.

Kennedy was selected by the Seahawks with the third pick overall in the 1990 NFL Draft and retired from the team – and the game – after the 2000 season. In between, he was voted to the Pro Bowl eight times, selected All-Pro four times and named NFL defensive player of the year in 1992 – making him the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history. He already is a member of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.

To commemorate his latest – and greatest – achievement, is asking those who played with him and knew him for their thoughts on Kennedy. Today, it’s Largent.

The connection: Largent and Kennedy never were teammates, as Largent retired after the 1989 season and Kennedy was selected in the 1990 NFL Draft. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a connection even before they became Canton compatriots.

“I probably got to know him better after he retired and – as you know – he’s not a hard guy to get to know,” Largent said. “He’s just one of those really likeable guys. I just got to know him through golf events and Seahawks events, and I met him a few times while he was playing.”

The congratulations: Is there room for another Seahawk in that bust-filled room in Canton? “Oh yeah. Absolutely,” Largent said after laughing.

“I’m so happy for Cortez. He knows how cool it is right now, but he doesn’t realize yet that it gets better and better,” Largent added. “Just the quality and caliber of guys that you’re associated with, and get to associate with a lot, it’s really fun and exciting. I still feel like a kid when I’m in the room with these guys. I’m a fan.”

In closing: “I’m so excited about it,” Largent said. “I’m thrilled to death and nobody deserves it more than Cortez.”