BY SPNW Staff 02:18PM 01/08/2012

Cortez Kennedy On HOF Ballot For Fourth Time

Writers vote Feb. 4 on whether Seahawks All-Pro DL from 1990-2000 has Hall-worthy creds, but Washington native Don Coryell, a 1949 UW letterman, failed to advance.

Former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (96) is a Hall of Fame finalist for the fourth consecutive year. / Seattle Seahawks photo

Former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, an eight-time Pro Bowler who spent his entire career in Seattle (1990-2000), is one of 15 modern-era finalists up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is the fourth consecutive year that Kennedy has been a finalist.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will meet in Indianapolis Saturday, Feb. 4., to select five to seven individuals for induction.

If Kennedy is elected, he will join wide receiver Steve Largent (1976-89) as the only players in the Hall of Fame who spent the majority of their careers in Seattle. Largent, who retired holding NFL career records for receptions (819), yards (13,089) and touchdowns (100), entered the hall in 1995 in his first year of eligibility.

Since Kennedy, eligible for induction for seven years, first became a finalist in 2009, three defensive ends/tackles have been elected, Bruce Smith (1985-03) in 2009, John Randle (1990-03) in 2010 and Richard Dent (1983-97) in 2011.

Smith made it into the HOF in his first year of eligibility, Randle in his second and Dent in his seventh. Randle spent the majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, but finished it (2001-03) with the Seahawks, who had associations with four other Hall of Famers.

DE Carl Eller (elected 2004) played in 16 games for the Seahawks in 1979, RB Franco Harris (1990) in eight in 1984, QB Warren Moon (2006) in 25 in 1997-98 and WR Jerry Rice (2010) in nine in 2004.

Kennedy, whose eight Pro Bowl appearances included four as a starter, made first-team All-Pro three times and ranks sixth on the club’s all-time lists in games played (167) and games started (153), eighth in tackles (668), fourth in sacks (58) and forced fumbles (13).

His best year came in 1992 when he became the second player in franchise history named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year (following Kenny Easley in 1984) after recording 93 tackles and 14 sacks. Only Kennedy, Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor won that award while playing on losing teams.

Kennedy was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s, along with Randle, Bryant Young and Warren Sapp, and became the 10th member of the Seahawks Ring of Honor on Sept. 17, 2006.

Since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982, only Kennedy and former Dallas great Randy White ended their careers with at least 150 starts, 50 sacks and eight Pro Bowl appearances. White entered the Hall of Fame in 1994.

The list of 2012 HOF finalists includes two first-year eligibles, former coach Bill Parcells and tackle Will Shields. Parcells’ inclusion effectively knocked former head coach Don Coryell out of consideration. Coryell, a Washington state native and former UW letterman (1949), is the only coach to win more than 100 games at both the college and professional levels.

Coryell, who had been one of 26 HOF semifinalists, coached San Diego State (1961-72), the St. Louis Cardinals (1973-77) and San Diego Chargers (1978-86). In the NFL, Coryell coached six division champions, but never reached a Super Bowl and produced a 3-6 postseason record.

Parcells won Super Bowls with the New York Giants in 1987 and 1991, the principal reason he became a HOF finalist and Coryell did not (Coryell was a finalist in 2010).

In addition to Parcells and Shields, the remaining 2012 finalists are wide receivers Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed, RBs Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin, C Dermontti Dawson, OT Willie Roaf, DB Aeneas Williams, DEs/LBs Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene and Charles Haley, and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr.

Hall of Famers With Washington Connections

Nine individuals with ties to the state of Washington have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mel Hein, who starred at Washington State, was a member of the inaugural Canton class in 1963.

Year Inductee Position School Skinny
1963 Mel Hein C WSU Selected the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1938 — as a center
1969 Glen Edwards OT WSU Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1930s
1970 Hugh McElhenny RB UW The six-time Pro Bowl star also enshrined in College Hall of Fame
1974 Tony Canadeo QB/RB Gonzaga “Gray Ghost” made the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1940s
1976 Ray Flaherty Coach Gonzaga Posted an 80-37-5 record as an NFL head coach
1981 Red Badgro DE/WR USC Orillia native elected to the Hall at age 78 (oldest-ever inductee)
1984 Arnie Weinmeister DL UW Played for New York Yankees (1948-49), New York Giants (1950-53)
1995 Steve Largent WR Tulsa Seahawks’ first superstar inducted in first year of eligibility
2006 Warren Moon QB UW Made 9 Pro Bowls during tenures with Oilers, Vikings and Seahawks