The Seahawks will honor Cortez Kennedy this upcoming season with a helmet decal. Kennedy, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle for 11 seasons, passed away on May 23 at the age 48. A cause of death isn't yet known.
Here's what the helmets will look like with Kennedy's No. 96 plastered on the back:
"He meant a lot to this franchise," middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said, per the team's website. "Just being around him, he always tried to give young guys some knowledge that he had learned in the game, some wisdom. He went through a 2-14 season and was able to get defensive player of the year; he was a great player, but more importantly, he was just an awesome person off the field. Great guy to be around, funny, and everybody that he met, he touched in some form or fashion. So we're definitely going to miss him.
"It's an honor to wear his number on our helmets."
Kennedy, the third overall pick in 1990, went to six Pro Bowls, was named first-team All-Pro in three straight seasons, and won Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts during the 1992 season. In his career, he notched 58 sacks and 568 solo tackles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Seahawks aren't the only team to honor him. At OTAs, the Saints' helmets were almost entirely dedicated to Kennedy.
"I've seen him almost every game I've ever played, especially at home in New Orleans and at home here," former Saints tight end and current Seahawk Jimmy Graham said. "I was pretty close with him. It's very sad. He was such a bubbly guy, so nice, and every time I saw him, we'd talk about The U, what they're doing, how well they're doing. When I first got out here to Seattle, he was one of the first guys to talk to me about this team, how it operated, how his time was here, how the city was. He always had an open door and open arms to me. It'll be weird to not be around him and not hear that laugh again. Every one of my Seahawks games, I gave him a big hug before the game. He was always telling me, 'Do it for The U.' He had a lot of U pride.
"If you want to talk about somebody who was every bit as great of a man off the field as he was a player on it, it was him. Everybody loved him. He just had a pure smile, it was just a pure joy to even share a little piece of him and what he brought to this city, to New Orleans and to The U."