Press Releases

Washington – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman showed their support for two National Football League (NFL) greats who grew up in Arkansas and were inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Cortez Kennedy of Wilson and Willie Roaf of Pine Bluff were welcomed into the Hall as part of the 2012 class this past Sunday.

“As a football fan, I enjoyed watching Cortez Kennedy and Willie Roaf excel on and off the field during their impressive careers,” Pryor said. “These two Arkansans’ achievements and skills have left a lasting mark on their profession, their local communities, and our state.”

“Arkansans are quick to point out all the homegrown football talent we have here in the Natural State, and Cortez Kennedy and Willie Roaf are two fine examples.  They are among the best caliber players to ever play their positions.  We enjoyed watching their highlight-filled careers and they have made Arkansas proud with their accomplishments,” Boozman said.

Cortez Kennedy was born in Osceola, Arkansas and grew up in Wilson, Arkansas.  He graduated from Rivercrest High School and, after a stint at community college, went on to play football at the University of Miami where he was named All-American at his position in 1989.  Kennedy was chosen third overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1990 NFL Draft and went on to play all eleven seasons of his professional career in Seattle.  He excelled as pro football’s top defensive tackle and was an ironman at his position, never missing a game until his eighth year in the league.  He earned eight Pro Bowl nominations during the course of his professional career.

Willie Roaf was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he played for the Pine Bluff Zebras high school football team.  After graduation, Roaf played collegiate ball at Louisiana Tech University where he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American and, in his senior year, was a finalist for the Outland Trophy for the best offensive lineman in college.  Drafted eighth overall in the 1993 draft by the New Orleans Saints, Roaf spent nine seasons with the organization and recorded a stretch of seven-straight years where he made the Pro Bowl.  Roaf finished his professional career in Kansas City where he anchored one of the more dominant lines in football.