DE Pro-Bowler Kerney '95 Retires
Seattle and Atlanta NFL Star Ends 11-year Career
Alum Patrick Kerney '95 ended his 11 year stint in the NFL on April 13th. While at Taft, Kerney was a standout student athlete. Earning Varsity Letters in Football, Wrestling, and Lacrosse he also earned the Stone Athtelics Award for 'contributing most to boys' athletics at Taft'. His accomplishments at Taft, UVa, and the NFL place him in an elite group of Taft athletes to every play in Watertown, CT. In a Seahawks' press release in Seattle, WA Kerney sited diminishing health as the main cause to retire. Although the desire and drive that led the ex-Taftie to two All-Pro selections remains intact, bothersome injuries compiled of years of playing football at Taft, the University of Virginia, and for two NFL franchises led to the players' retirement. Instead of playing a lesser brand of football, the Defensive End decided to move in to the next stage of his life.
From Taft Kerney was recruited to Charlottesville to play on the 1995 National Championship lacrosse team. When he joined the team in '96 as a defenseman, the Cavaliers advanced to the National Championship Game before falling 12-13 in OT to Princeton. After the '96 season the talented athlete walked on to the UVa football team. Although the continued to play lacrosse in the 1997 season, Kerney's motor on the football field eventually earned him a scholarship as a Cavalier DE. The fall of 1997 was a breakout season for the Cavaliers (45 tackles and 8 sacks). His senior season placed Kerney on the National map as well as in the UVa record books with 62 tackles and 15 sacks. His sack total ranked him second in the country, first in the ACC, and tied for first All-Time at the University of Virginia. His relentless play at DE as a Cavalier earned him First-Team All-ACC honors and a First-Team All-American selection.
Due to his work ethic and skill Kerney was drafted in the First Round (30th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1999 NFL Draft. The motor that earned him his Captaincy at Taft, All-ACC honors at UVa, also earned him NFL accolades over his 11 year career. He played his first eight seasons for the Atlanta Falcons where he was a tenacious defender. After a switch to a 4-3 system in Atlanta, Kerney had his best year in 2004. Tallying 66 tackles and 13 sacks, Kerney earned All-Pro distinctions and All-Pro honors both for the first time.
After the 2007 season, Kerney signed a new contract with the Seattle Seahawks and played three seasons for the franchise. His first season in the West was his best as a pro. Recording 62 tackles, 12.5 sacks, and forcing 5 fumbles Kerney earned first team All-Pro honors. For his tremendous season with the Seahawks, the 6'5'' 270 pound defensive end was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year. After the 2007 season, Kerney's injuries began to plague his football. A torn pectoral muscle, torn tricep, and shoulder surgery are atop a long list of injuries that ex-Taftie accumulated over his career.
On April 13th, 2010 Patrick Kerney decided to conclude his football career. "Despite the desire to continue my career, I am retiring from professional football,” Kerney said in a statement released by the Seahawks on Tuesday. “The toll that has been taken on my body will no longer allow me to train, and hence, perform, at a level that is acceptable to me." In an age that many athletes play until a life-debilitating injury haunts them, Kerney decided to leave the NFL on his own terms.
A well respected athlete both from teammates and from fans alike, Kerney will leave a large hole in the Seahawks franchise.