David Behring told Cortez Kennedy publicly on Monday he was sorry he called him fat and undermotivated.
The Seattle Seahawks president, son of owner Ken Behring, issued a statement that said: “I want to apologize for my public comments yesterday regarding Cortez Kennedy.”
On Sunday, Behring told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the Seahawks’ five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle had a questionable work ethic.
“Cortez has a tendency to be overweight, particularly in the off-season,” Behring told the newspaper.
“He doesn’t have the work ethic many of our other players have. He lacks, and fails to display, the leadership a player of his caliber and at that stage of his career should have.”
But a day later, Behring changed his tune.
“My statements were an emotional response to a reporter’s question regarding Cortez’s non-injury grievance action and its effect on the team,” he said in his statement.
“Cortez has been an invaluable part of this organization since 1990 and will continue to have an important role in this team’s future success,” he added.
In 1992, the former Miami Hurricanes lineman was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year although the team was only 2-14.
“If he applied himself as hard as many of the other players on our team, Cortez could be one of the greatest defensive tackles in history,” Behring told the P-I. “I’m very disappointed in him because he has all the ability, but he lacks the work ethic.”
Kennedy was not immediately available for comment.
Behring’s critical comments came days after Kennedy filed a grievance with the NFL Players Association over the team’s off-season conditioning program being held in Southern California rather than Kirkland.
When the Seahawks opened workouts in Anaheim, Calif., March 18 as part of owner Ken Behring’s plan to move the team to Southern California, Kennedy was a no-show.
But Ken Behring announced late last week the team would return the conditioning program to Kirkland by April 1, after the NFL threatened to fine him $500,000 plus an additional $50,000 for each week the team remained in Anaheim.
David Behring said Kennedy’s complaint to the players’ union was not behind the team’s decision to return to Kirkland.