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2017 Seattle Seahawks Yearbook

Whatever the reason, we remained friends until the sad ending. Maybe it is because we had been through so much together. On draft day in 1990, when the Seahawks used the third overall pick to select the rotund tackle from the University of Miami, the fat jokes started flying the way Cortez would use his explosive get-off and uncanny quickness to dominate offensive linemen for the next 11 seasons — when he was voted All-Pro three times and to the Pro Bowl eight times; named to the NFL’s All Decade team for the 1990s; and selected NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992, because his 14.0 sacks and 92 tackles were just too much to overlook even though the Seahawks finished 2-14. Who had the best line? Who else. “I might be the fattest player in the draft,” Cortez cajoled after his selection, “but I’m a helluva football player.” Not so much in his rookie season, however, when a contract dispute delayed his arrival until the Wednesday before the Seahawks’ regular-season opener. Following that 17-0 loss to the Bears in Chicago, Cortez sat in front of his cubicle in the locker room at Soldier Field shaking his head. “What’s wrong?” I asked him. “I got to get me some technique,” Cortez explained. “I was using my college stuff out there and they were batting it back in my face.” Things obviously got better, but it was later rather than sooner. As Cortez was registering one sack among his 48 rookie-season tackles, many in the media began labeling him a bust of Mount Rushmore proportions. Now, if they were to create a Mount Rushmore for the Seahawks, Cortez would be up there with fellow Hall of Famers Largent, Jones and Kenny Easley. Cortez told me once the fact that I was not among those calling him a waste-of-atop 3 draft choice meant a lot to him. Call it a cornerstone of what became a friendly relationship that morphed into a friendship. Despite his dominance on the field, Cortez would not shed the realities of life as easily as he did blockers. There were the 33


2017 Seattle Seahawks Yearbook
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