Football fans everywhere received an unpleasant shock today when it was announced that Seattle Seahawks legend and 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Cortez Kennedy passed away at the young age of just 48 years old. No cause of death was immediately available although officials involved stated that foul play is not suspected at this point. The third overall pick of the 1990 draft was born August 23, 1968 and played college football at the University of Miami for coaches Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson before being drafted by the Seahawks, his only professional home, in which he endeared himself to the 12th man by compiling 58 sacks over the course of 11 spectacular seasons. Though at first this sack total may not seem high, given Kennedy’s work as an interior defensive lineman versus a defensive end (which is usually the position that makes plays against the opposing quarterback) this total is extraordinary.

His professional peak came in 1992 when he won the Defensive Player of the Year Award for his eye-popping 14 sacks, Kennedy also made the All-Pro team that year, a feat which he also accomplished in 1993 and 1994. In addition to those All-Pro appearances, he made 8 Pro Bowls between 1991 and 1999 although sadly despite his individual brilliance the Seahawks never won a playoff game during his many seasons with the squad. Despite this, his number was retired by the club in 2012 which was the same year as his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. It is unclear at this point whether or not the executors of his estate will permit his brain to be studied for signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy the degenerative brain condition brought on by repeated head trauma, most notoriously repeated concussions or near concussive blows. At least in the short term, the debate on head injuries can wait as the friends and family grieve over the loss of Cortez Kennedy, may he rest in peace.

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