When the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 is announced Saturday, in or out (again), Cortez Kennedy will be far from the maddening crowd.
Rather than make the trip to Indianapolis, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl rematch between the Giants and Patriots as well as the day-before Hall of Fame selection process and news conference that will follow, Tez will be at home in Orlando.
“I’ll be here watching it with my daughter,” Kennedy said. “I think she is more excited than I am.”
That would be 16-year-old Courtney, who Kennedy is raising as a single parent.
“Being a single dad raising a daughter, that’s tough,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy had one of those proud-parent moments recently when Courtney brought something home from school that a teacher wanted autographed.
“When she was younger and we’d go to banquets, and even the Ring of Honor ceremony, she didn’t realize the magnitude of what was going on,” said Kennedy, who was added to the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor in 2006.
“But she came home the other day and said, ‘Daddy, can you sign this for my teacher? He’s a big Seahawks fan.’ So she realizes everything that’s going on now.”
If Kennedy is elected to the Hall, he’ll likely make a hurried trip to Indy so he can be introduced with the rest of the Class of 2012 during the game on Sunday.
Whether that is necessary will depend on what happens during the selection committee meeting Saturday morning. It helps to have friends “in the room,” and Kennedy does. Mike Sando of ESPN.com will make Kennedy’s presentation to the group as the Seattle representative. John Clayton of ESPN.com, like Sando a former Seahawks beat writer for the Tacoma News Tribune, is an at-large member of the committee after the being the Seattle rep for many years.
Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com, who also is a Kennedy supporter, was added to the committee this year, as was Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans – where the Saints also have been lobbying on Kennedy’s behalf. And when I made Kennedy’s presentation to the committee in 2009, during the discussion that followed Peter King of Sports Illustrated and SI.com said, “This might not be his year, but if you don’t think Cortez Kennedy belongs in the Hall of Fame than you’re just ignorant.” King is one of the more-respected, and most-outspoken, members of the group.
And what happens “in the room” definitely impacts who gets into the Hall. In 2006, when the Seahawks were in Detroit for their Super Bowl matchup against the Steelers, I did a story during the week on Warren Moon’s chances of being part of that year’s class. The selection committee members I spoke with said they didn’t expect it to happen. But of course it did.
What happened? John McClain of the Houston Chronicle made a presentation for Moon that was as convincing as it was impassioned, so even some of the selectors I had talked with changed their minds and voted for Moon.
Kennedy is a finalist for the fourth consecutive year. Whether his wait finally ends will be played out “in the room,” when the 44-person selection committee goes through the process Saturday morning.
But there’s also a story out there that lists Kennedy among the linebackers who are included in this year’s finalists and says part of his problem was that he played in the shadow of Kenny Easley. Arrgh. Kennedy was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1990s as a defensive tackle, and Easley’s final season with the Seahawks was 1987 while Kennedy was a first-round draft choice in 1990.