Cortez Kennedy wasn’t flashy, but he got the job done for the Seattle Seahawks during his 11-year NFL career. In eight of those years, Kennedy made the Pro Bowl while also being named a first-team All-Pro three years and a second-teamer two years. Yet Kennedy fell short for the third-straight year when the NFL Hall of Fame announced its class of 2011 on Saturday, a victim of a loaded crop of skill players.
Look at Kennedy’s 1992 season — a year that the Seahawks were abysmal, finishing 2-14. Kennedy, however, led his position in sacks that year, and took home the AP Defensive Player of the Year award for an excellent body of work. He’s one of only five players on a losing team to bring home the award, a testament to an outstanding year.
In five other years, Kennedy registered 6.5 or more sacks, peaking in that 1992 season with 14. Kennedy finished with 568 career tackles, 11 forced fumbles, six recoveries and — wait for it — a defensive touchdown. He was a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the Seattle defense, and a more than worthy candidate for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
Kennedy suffered from a Hall of Fame class that was overflowing with talent this year, and it won’t get any easier. Though he made the first cut, narrowing the candidates from 15 to 10, he didn’t make the second, falling just short again. It’s an encouraging sign, but with players such as Warren Sapp and others up for induction in the next few years, his chances remain long.
It’s a long road ahead, but Kennedy took a step in the right direction today. For our sake, let’s hope the Hall of Fame selection committee comes to its senses and puts Big Tez where he belongs: enshrined in the hall.