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A ferocious interior defensive lineman with tremendous instincts and quickness, Cortez Kennedy anchored the Seahawks' defense throughout the 1990s. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first-team All-Pro, Kennedy was originally drafted third overall out of the University of Miami in the 1990 NFL Draft. A 1989 All-American with the Hurricanes, Kennedy almost immediately established himself as one of the top defensive linemen in the game. In his third NFL season, Kennedy won the 1992 NFL Defensive Player of the Year even though the Seahawks finished an atrocious 2-14. With remarkable instincts defending the run and tremendous initial quickness attacking the pass, "Tez" finished the 1992 season with 92 tackles, 14 sacks and four forced fumbles, earning him the nickname "Tez for Prez" among his teammates. In a 1992 victory over New England, Kennedy compiled perhaps the best game of his career, terrorizing the Patriots for seven tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. While 1992 was Kennedy's best season as a pro, he recorded at least six sacks in four other seasons and was one of the top run-stuffers of the 1990s. In 11 NFL seasons, Kennedy missed only seven games, starting every game he played in from 1991 until he retired in 2000. Despite his massive success, Kennedy only played in one playoff game in his career, a 20-17 AFC Wild Card loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Text: Gabriel Baumgaertner
Photo: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

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