Tez officially joins Hall of Fame, and leaves them laughing

CANTON, Ohio – Cortez Kennedy said he planned to speak from the heart and talk about others who helped him during his career rather than himself in his Hall of Fame induction speech.

The Seahawks’ eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle did just that tonight, when he officially joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the nationally televised induction ceremony at Fawcett Stadium. But Kennedy also flashed his sense of humor that usually comes out only in smaller groups and less-pressurized settings.

He thanks everyone from his parents, Ruby and Joe Harris, and daughter, Courtney; to every coach he every played for; to most of the teammates he played with; to his childhood doctor. And it did it with a flash of humor that had to have some wondering if that really was Kennedy up there.

Kennedy was the fourth member of the six-man Class of 2012 to speak, following Willie Roaf, Jack Butler and Chris Doleman.

Kennedy’s lighthearted approach must have been contagious.

Steve Largent was the only member of the Hall who played his entire career with the Seahawks before Kennedy joined him. Asked about Kennedy during a TV timeout at the ceremony, Largent referred to the once 330-pound Kennedy have trimmed down to 265.

“Have you seen Cortez? He looks like a wide receiver, not a nose tackle,” Largent said.

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After all these years, they’re still ‘The Rookie Club’

CANTON, Ohio – They arrived in the 1990 NFL Draft from various corners of the college football landscape, but the bond between Cortez Kennedy, Robert Blackmon, Terry Wooden and Chris Warren was almost as instant as it has been lasting.

They dubbed themselves “The Rookie Club,” and they are having a reunion here this weekend because Kennedy is being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight – with the nationally televised event from Fawcett Stadium set to kickoff at 4 p.m., PDT.

Kennedy was the third pick overall in that fateful draft out of the University of Miami. He was voted to eight Pro Bowls during his 11-season career with the Seahawks, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and also selected to the NFL All-Decade team for the 1990s.

The second round delivered Blackmon, the strongest of strong safeties from Baylor who would lead the team in interceptions in 1995 and start 96 games in seven seasons; and Wooden, a do-it-all linebacker from Syracuse who would lead the team in tackles in 1995 and start 87 games in seven seasons. Warren, a steal of a fourth-round pick out of Ferrum, led the team in punt and kickoff returns for three seasons before becoming a 1,000-yard rusher from 1992-95. He also was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

These cornerstone players are here to show their support for Kennedy because, well, that’s what “The Rookie Club” has always been about – taking care of, and looking out for, one another.

“Cortez is deserving of it,” Wooden, who now scouts for the Saints, said Friday night as he was leaving the event where Kennedy was presented his gold Hall of Fame jacket. “I got emotional when he finally made it to the Hall, because he was a good player but he’s an even better person.

“America really never got to see Cortez Kennedy, because he played in the 90s before you had Direct TV and the national coverage that the Seahawks get now. I think America missed out on seeing a pretty dominant player. Tez would have made it earlier if more people had actually seen him play.

“If they had, it would have been a no-brainer.”

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Tune in to see Tez

CANTON, Ohio – Cortez Kennedy, the Seahawks’ eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame today.

You can watch the ceremony from Fawcett Stadium starting at 4 p.m., PDT, on ESPN. The NFL Network also will provide total access coverage all day.

In addition to Kennedy, the Class of 2012 also includes Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Willie Roaf, Curtis Martin and Jack Butler.

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Golden moment for Cortez

CANTON, Ohio — Cortez Kennedy already was embracing his Hall of Fame experience. But Friday night, the Seahawks’ eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle was embraced — time and again — during the Gold Jacket Presentation for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 at Canton Memorial Civic Center.

Before Kennedy got his jacket, he was introduced with the other members of this year’s Class — Dermontti Dawson, Willie Roaf, Curtis Martin, Chris Doleman and Jack Butler. That segment of the program was filled with the enshrinees hugging each other. Then came the presentation of the former inductees, and another round of hugs — with Kennedy getting two-armed bear hugs from Warren Moon and John Randle, who also played for the Seahawks during the end of their Hall of Fame careers.

The golden moment, however, came when Kennedy was presented with his gold Hall of Fame jacket by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, with an assist from Dixie Fraley Keller, the widow of Kennedy’s longtime friend and agent who was killed in plane crash. Fraley Keller will introduce Kennedy during the induction ceremony on Saturday night.

Also in attendance was Kennedy’s mother, Ruby; father, Joe; and daughter, Courtney.

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Monday cyber surfing: Earl Thomas’ camp for kids

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 9.

From KFDM Channel 6 in Beaumont, Texas, we have this feature on Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who during the downtime before training camp returned to his hometown of Orange, Texas to host a free football camp for Southeast Texas kids. “Growing up here not too many people came back,” said Thomas. “It kind of made me mad, so I said if I ever made it I’d be the first one to come back and help out.”

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson shares another installment of his video series “The Real Rob Report”, this time catching up with rookie QB Russell Wilson at the end of the Seahawks minicamp in mid-June.

Here at Seahawks.com, we wrapped up our Rookie Spotlight segment over the weekend as GM John Schneider offered his thoughts on fifth round draft pick Korey Toomer, sixth round draft picks Jeremy Lane and Winston Guy, and seventh round draft picks J.R. Sweezy and Greg Scruggs.

At MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show follow up on a guest appearance by former NFL QB Kurt Warner, as they discuss the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition and how big of an advantage Tarvaris Jackson’s familiarity with the Seahawks offense and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can be come training camp.

Andy Behrens over at YahooSports.com takes a look at the Seahawks from a fantasy perspective, as he shares his thoughts on Marshawn Lynch and the running game, the Seahawks quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, and had this to say about the Seahawks ‘D’, “Seattle’s defense should be a solid option this season, as they finished among the top-10 teams last year in fewest points and yards allowed (19.7, 332.2). This group ranked fourth in the league in interceptions (22) and they scored four defensive TDs, so they were obviously a decent fantasy commodity. The IDPs to target here are DE Chris Clemons (11.0 sacks), plus safeties Earl Thomas (98 tackles) and Kam Chancellor (97 tackles). First-round DE Bruce Irvin and second-round LB Bobby Wagner might just sneak into the IDP discussion, too.”

Lastly, over at NFL.com we have a photo gallery highlighting the Hall of Fame Class of 2012, which includes a 16-photo spread of Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 4.

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