The NFL lost one of its best on Tuesday, when Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy died at just 48 years old. Kennedy anchored the Seahawks defensive line in the 1990s.
Kennedy was a great player on the field. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro, and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992. After he retired, the Cowboys offered him $1 million to play the final five games of the season, which he declined. According to Gil Brandt, Kennedy said it would have been “stealing money.”
Off the field, Cortez worked as an adviser for the New Orleans Saints, where he also made an impact.
When Garrett’s name was called on draft night, Smith was in the room and saw the joy and relief of the entire Garrett family. It reminded him of 1985, that wondrous feeling of a dream fulfilled with realization that it is only a beginning.
“These young players have access to so much, and that’s great,” Smith said. “When I came out, football was not necessarily a year-round job. Look at the weight rooms today, the nutrition programs, the tablets and technology they use now. We had projectors. But these young men still have to work. I know the safety of the game is important, but putting on pads and hitting is a necessary evil and if you don’t, the quality of the game, the execution and fundamentals are compromised.
“The NFL should use former players and Hall of Famers more. It is our duty to help these young men. There are invaluable lessons to be taught. I wish I had a Deacon Jones in my first or second year in the league. I hope the time spent with Myles will help him become an impact player faster in the league.”
Slow motion has its place in the NFL learning curve.