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DT Kennedy announces retirement

Courtesy of Seattle Seahawks media relations

SEATTLE (Aug. 3, 2002) -- Former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy formally announced his retirement before the team's scrimmage at the new Seahawks Stadium.

Kennedy, the third pick in the 1990 NFL draft, asked coach and general manager Mike Holmgren for his release following the 2000 season, after the Seahawks finished 6-10.

"I could have still played a couple of more years," Kennedy said. "But when it's time to give it up, it's time to walk away."

Kennedy, who did not play football in 2001, had offers from several teams but chose to finish his career with Seattle, where he played all 11 years.

“Cortez Kennedy lived up to all our expectations,” said Chuck Knox, Seahawks head coach from 1983-91. “When he first arrived we put him down at right defensive tackle in a left handed stance just like he had played at Miami. I asked him what he thought of that and his response was ‘just put me wherever you want and let the big dog hunt.’ And that's exactly what he did.”

One of the NFL’s most durable interior lineman during his career, Kennedy played in 167 games, including 116 consecutive, and started 153. He ranks sixth in both games played and started on club charts.

“I want to thank the Seahawks for 11 good years,” said Kennedy. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that I was able to stay with the Seahawks my entire career. We had some really good times and I loved the Seahawks and our fans. They were great to me. I want to thank all of my teammates and coaches that helped me out along the way.”

Kennedy’s 668 career tackles rank seventh all time. Only three defensive linemen in team history have recorded more tackles, Joe Nash 779 in 218 games, Jacob Green 718 in 178 games, and Jeff Bryant 689 in 175 games.

His 58.0 career sacks rank fourth in the team record book and first among interior lineman.

Named to the NFL’s All Decade team of the 1990’s, Kennedy was selected to a club-record eight Pro Bowls from 1991-96 and 1998-99, while his six consecutive selections are the most in team history.

“He was one of the most naturally gifted and athletic players I have ever coached or been around, and above all he was one of the most caring,” said Tom Flores, Seahawks head coach from 1992-94.

While Kennedy’s career numbers are impressive, his finest season came in 1992 while playing for a 2-14 team when he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, becoming just the second Seahawks player to win the award (Ken Easley, 1984). That season, Kennedy was also the NFL Alumni Association and NFL Players Association Defensive Lineman of the Year, a consensus All-NFL pick, AFC starter in the Pro Bowl, and voted the Marcus Nalley Trophy by his teammates as the Seahawks Most Valuable Player. He was one of six finalist for the Miller Light NFL Player of the Year Award and became only the third player in NFL history to win the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award from a team with a losing record, joining Lawrence Taylor of the 1982 New York Giants (4-5) and Reggie White of the 1987 Philadelphia Eagles (7-8).

Kennedy led the 1992 Seahawks with 14.0 sacks and four forced fumbles while finishing second on the team with a career-best 92 total tackles.

Off the field, Cortez put a lot of effort into helping children, especially in his home state of Arkansas. Every summer since he was drafted, he returned to his hometown of Wilson, Ark., and put on a youth football camp filled with instruction and fun for over 1,000 kids annually. Each year, 10-15 of “Tez’s” peers including Russell Maryland, Chester McGlockton and the late Derrick Thomas, would join him to help make the camp a success.

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