Good morning. Here’s a special Super Bowl Sunday edition for Feb. 5 to cover everything that was written about Cortez Kennedy after he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday:
Dave Boling at the News Tribune looks at the man behind the player who was the best defensive tackle of his generation, and among the best to ever play the game: “Those of us who have followed Kennedy since he arrived in 1990 have heard endlessly that ‘Tez,’ as they all called him, was a Hall of Fame teammate, a Hall of Fame guy, a Hall of Fame father, a Hall of Fame friend. He was considered larger than life as a player (which is saying a great deal given his ample girth), but at the same time may have been the most humble man on the team.”
Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams looks at Kennedy the player – now a Hall of Fame player: “(Former center Robbie) Tobeck got a steady diet of Kennedy’s impressive athletic ability at practice during the week. ‘Even in practice, when the offensive line goes down and does one-on-one pass drills, you had to be quick to get to your set because he was so quick and explosive off the ball,’ Tobeck said. ‘He had great hands, too. I think that sometimes doesn’t get talked about a lot in line play – playing off blocks with your hands – but he certainly was good with his hands.’ ”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says the long-awaited honor left Kennedy almost speechless: “Kennedy was at his home in Orlando, Fla., when he learned of the news. He was elated. He was grateful. Mostly, he was overwhelmed. ‘I don’t know what to say,’ he said. That’s OK. His career spoke for itself. He was a defensive tackle, as thankless a job as there is in football, and he played that underappreciated position for a team that can often be overlooked in the NFL.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com, who made Kennedy’s presentation to the selection committee, offers his thoughts on Tez and the rest of the Class of 2012: “Thirteen modern-era NFL players were finalists for enshrinement Saturday in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only one was named offensive or defensive player of the year during his career. That was the Seattle Seahawks’ Cortez Kennedy. His eight Pro Bowls, all-1990s selection and overall dominance made my job as his presenter quite simple. State the facts and let Kennedy’s career do the talking. Picking the final five out of 15 modern-era finalists is always tough, however, because it usually requires leaving off worthy candidates.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we caught with Kennedy moments after the announcement was made and he was one happy Hall of Famer: “ ‘I thought I’d get a call,’ Kennedy said moments after taking his rightful place among the best to ever play in the National Football League. ‘I was just watching TV, like everyone else, and then they called my name. They called my name. Can you believe it? It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. Can you believe it?’ Believe it, Tez. You are a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kennedy was a finalist for the fourth consecutive season, and also advanced from that field of 15 to the group of 10 last year. But Saturday, when the 44-person selection committee gathered in Indianapolis, Kennedy took the final two steps. First, he emerged from the group of 10 to the final five, as did Pittsburgh Steelers center Dermontti Dawson; defensive end/linebacker Chris Doleman, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers; New York Jets running back Curtis Martin; and offensive tackle Willie Roaf, who played for the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. But even that does not insure a berth in the Hall, because the final five also must get 80 percent approval on the final ballot. Each did, and will be joined in the six-man class by Jack Butler, a senior committee nominee who played cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1951-59.”
We’ve also got a video tribute to Tez that will help those who never saw him play understand just how good he was, and those who did see him play remember just how much fun he was to watch.
Jim Trotter at SI.com writes that for most fans the Hall of Fame attention is usually on those who didn’t make it, but he also looks ahead to the Classes of 2014 and 2015, when the next former Seahawks will be eligible: “2014 – linebacker Derrick Brooks, wideout Marvin Harrison, coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren, running back Shaun Alexander, and safety Rodney Harrison. 2015 – left tackles Walter Jones and Orlando Pace, linebacker Junior Seau, quarterback Kurt Warner, cornerback Ty Law, , and running back Edgerrin James.”