Statement from Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson on the death of Pro Football Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy:
"Words cannot express the sense of loss and heartbreak we as an organization are feeling at this time. Gayle and I were shocked and heartbroken upon hearing the news this morning. Cortez was a man who was truly a role model and inspiration in every sense, he was considered a part of our family, and we will miss the happiness, joy and insight he brought us each and every time we were fortunate enough to spend time with him. His life should be an example for not only players but all of us, from the way he was raised by his parents, who instilled the value of hard work to the way he lived his life and played with those same values, but most importantly the way he raised Courtney, his daughter who was the center of his universe. The NFL has lost a Hall of Fame player and we have lost a Hall of Fame friend and a role model who will always remain a part of our family in the lasting memories and laughs he provided."
Statement from Saints GM Mickey Loomis:
"Today, the NFL lost a legend and a Hall of Fame player. Joe and Ruby Harris, his parents, lost a loving son, and his beautiful daughter Courtney lost the most caring and best father I know. My wife Melanie and I, my sons Alex and Sam and daughters Katherine and Lucy are devastated by this loss. Cortez is godfather to Lucy and Samuel Cortez bears his name.
"Many who will read about him in the coming days will read of his success on the field as a great Seattle Seahawk and Miami Hurricane; however the full story lies in his loving, fun, positive and giving heart. In my many years working in the NFL, no one better exemplified what it meant to be a great player on the field, and yet that paled in comparison to what Cortez meant to the people who knew him off the field. People of all races, religions and nationalities counted him as a friend; athletes and non-athletes alike. We should all aspire to have as big a heart as his!
"His loving and fun personality was often present in our building. He was very close to our owners Tom and Gayle Benson and our head coach, Sean Payton, but what I loved most about Cortez was the care and time he took in cultivating relationships with the equipment guys, security, ball boys, trainers, scouts, ticketing staff – the staffs that work long hours behind the scenes, he appreciated their hard work and recognized the contribution they made to any teams success.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe and Ruby, Courtney and the vast number of people who counted Cortez as a close friend; he will be missed by everyone, certainly myself included. We have a lost a true Saint of a person."