At Penn State, he was a nationally recognized talent that drew enough attention to be called 12th overall in the 2003 draft by the Saint Louis Rams, where he began his pro career. Yet after four years in Saint Louis, surrounded by broken arches and an unattractive down town area, Kennedy was traded to the Denver Broncos for a change of scenery. Mountains, however, were not to his liking, as he bounced from Denver to Chicago (to Mafia-y) to Jacksonville, Florida (to cut off short-y) finally to Minnesota. It was there that Jimmy finally stopped fighting and found his home.
“When I got to Minnesota, I was beat down” Kennedy said in a candid interview while he lounged in a beaten up Lay-Z-Boy at the Winter Park facilities in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the home of the Minnesota Vikings. “I thought my career was over. For so many years I had tons of people watching me, asking me to do tons of stuff like tackle, sack, strip the ball, be a role model … Man, I was tired. You ever try doing any of that stuff? It is exhausting, I tell ya what!”
While the pressures of being a high draft pick apparently got to Kennedy early in his career, it seemed that he learned a valuable lesson about humility once getting to Minnesota.
“Oh, well when I finally got here I didn’t have to do anything. It was great! They were paying me hundreds of thousands of dollars to have me just sit on the sidelines and come into the games for Fat Pat during blow outs so he wouldn’t have a heart attack. I mean, have you ever had a job that was so easy? I never have. I’ve always had to work for my money and blow jobs, but this life I found in Minnesota? It was like the exact opposite of everything I’ve ever did, so I told my brain, I said, ‘Brain, whenever you do the thinking we always end up being nationally recognized and having these expectations on us. From now on, you let my fat tummy to do the talking and we’re going to blend into the fat people shadows, ok?’ And it worked out.”
Uh … Yes, Kennedy did kind of blend into the roster in Minnesota. Maybe … it was the lessening of the spot light that finally allowed him to shine? Um … With less pressure on Kennedy to perform, he was able to finally make a name for himself in the NFL as a valuable defensive tackle back up to two of the premier tackles in the NFL in Pat and Kevin Williams.
“Yeah, I’m like the cavalry, I tell them. But I say, ‘Don’t you go sending me into that game unless things are in hand!’ At least not unless they are looking to lose.”
Kennedy entered this offseason with an opportunity to explore the NFL landscape as a name, as a player with talent finally after two years in Minnesota. But after a visit with Buffalo, where they alluded to his ability to potentially start on their defensive line, Kennedy said he finally stopped fighting his heart and went signed with the team that felt like home.
“Yeah, I went to Buffalo and they were like, ‘Hey, you want to start for us?’ and I said, ‘What? What do you mean start? Like play the entire game against top notch competition?’ I told them no way. I said I got a sweet candy ass deal back in Minnesota where I spell the big dudes and hand out with under achievers like Tarvaris Jackson all the time. Buffalo said, ‘Have you seen our roster? It’s all full of underachievers! You’d fit right in!’ but I couldn’t do it. I told them thank you, but no thank you. And now I’m back in Minnesota.”
Upon finishing, Kennedy was barked at by veteran Pat Williams to get him some Cheetos from the team kitchen. Kennedy just laughed.
“Yeah, you see, Pat gets the nice chair and puts his ass stain in it. I sit in this raggedy old thing and grab him Cheetos. But I make bank doing it. Ain’t nothing wrong with being at home, you know what I mean?”