|No. 2, 6, 8, 1|
|Born:||May 27, 1975|
San Vicente, El Salvador
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||200 lb (91 kg)|
|High school:||Van Nuys (CA)|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR · ArenaFan.com|
José Antonio Cortez (born May 27, 1975) is a former American football placekicker in the National Football League for the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. He played college football at Oregon State University. He is distinguished as being the first Salvadoran to play in the National Football League.
Cortez arrived in the United States with his mother and younger sister at the age of 15, without any legal documents, to get away from the civil war ravaging his natal country. He reunited with his father and older sister, who were already living in Van Nuys, California.
He transferred after his sophomore season to Oregon State University, where he was a two-year letterman. As a junior, he was named the starter at placekicker and received honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors, after converting 11-of-19 field goal attempts (57.9%), with a long of 45 yards.
As a senior, he made 17-of-26 field goals (65.4%). Against California, he connected three field goals longer than 50 yards (50, 52, 55). He finished his college career after making 28-of-47 field goal attempts (62.2%).
Cortez was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns after the 1999 NFL Draft, on April 23. He was waived after four preseason games on June 3. On June 14, he was signed by the San Diego Chargers. He was released on August 30.
On December 15, 1999, he was signed to the practice squad of the New York Giants . On December 17, he was promoted to the active roster. He played in one game with the Giants, where he had two kickoffs and did not attempt any field goals. He was released on December 22.
In February 2000, he was signed by the San Diego Chargers an allocated to the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. Due to a rule requiring national players to kick short field goals, Cortez shared duties with Dutch soccer player Silvio Diliberto. He made 5-of-7 field goal attempts between 40-49 yards and tied for the league lead for most field goals made (9). He returned to the Chargers and was released before the start of the season on August 27.
In 2000, he was selected by the Los Angeles Xtreme with 304th pick in 2000 XFL Draft, reuniting with head coach Al Luginbill, who coached him with the Admirals. Although he missed 3 of his first 5 field goal attempts, he went on to make 13 of his next 14. Cortez, along with quarterback Tommy Maddox, contributed to the Xtreme having a 7-3 record and winning the XFL Championship. Cortez also led the league in scoring with 20 field goals and earned Most Valuable Player honors in the title game, after kicking four field goals.
In 2001, Cortez's success in the XFL earned him a starting spot with the San Francisco 49ers, who signed him on April 26. He began the season by making 11 straight field goal attempts. He missed seven of his last 14 field-goal attempts, including five that were blocked. He finished with 18-of-25 field goals (72%) and 47-of-47 extra points (100%).
In 2002, the 49ers drafted Jeff Chandler in fourth round and kept him on the regular season roster. He had a streak of 13 field made at the start of the season. His problems began in the eighth game against the Oakland Raiders, missing a 27-yard field goal at the end of regulation, although the 49ers were able to win 23-20 in overtime. He would end up missing four field-goal attempts in his last three games and was 50 percent (three of six) from 40 yards or more. In the tenth game against the San Diego Chargers, he missed a 41-yard field goal attempt in overtime, costing the 49ers a 17-20 loss. On November 26, he was cut after the game and was replaced with Chandler. He converted 18-of-24 field goal attempts (75%) in 10 games and was perfect on 25 extra-point attempts.
On December 2, 2002, he was signed by the Washington Redskins to replace kicker James Tuthill. He remained the rest of the season with the team, making 5-of-8 field goals (62.5%) and 9-of-9 extra points (100%). He wasn't re-signed after the season.
In 2003, he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent. He was cut on August 25. On October 17, 2003, he was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. On October 28, 2003, he was cut by the Vikings. In 2003, he was re-signed by the Vikings and kicked in the last two games of the season. On November 10, 2004, he was re-signed by the Vikings. After being cut by the Vikings on May 26, 2005, he briefly kicked for the Detroit Fury of the Arena Football League. He appeared in a total of 10 games in 2 seasons with the Vikings and only handled kickoffs.
On August 7, 2005, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to compete with Billy Cundiff for the starting job. He would end up making the team. On October 15, Cortez contributed to a 16-13 against the New York Giants by hitting a 45-yard field goal in overtime. He is mostly remembered by Cowboys fans for what happened in the third game against the San Francisco 49ers, when the struggling long snapper Jon Condo made an errant snap on an extra point attempt, which affected Cortez timing and hooked the ball to the left side of the goal posts. While Cortez started mouthing off towards Condo, future hall of famer Larry Allen shoved his face mask and shifted his helmet towards the side. The Cowboys were still able to win 34-31. On October 23, he missed a 29-yard field goal in a 13-10 loss against the Seattle Seahawks. On October 24, he was released and replaced with rookie Shaun Suisham. Cortez made 12-of-16 field goals and was 3-of-6 on attempts longer than 40 yards.
On October 25, 2005, he was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles to handle kickoffs while David Akers recovered from an injury. He was released on November 22. On November 25, 2005, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers, to replace an injured Joe Nedney (groin). He was cut on December 6.
On December 21, 2005, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts to handle the kickoffs for the rest of the season and allow Mike Vanderjagt to focus on only kicking field goals. On March 14, 2006, he was re-signed by the Cols. He was released on April 3.
Cortez was one of two players to have played in the NFL, Arena Football League, NFL Europe, and XFL.
After retiring from the NFL, Cortez joined the Oregon State Police as a Trooper. Graduating from the Oregon State Police Academy in December 2007, he began patrol in May 2008, receiving his trooper stripes in January 2009.
Cortez was fired in 2013 after being sentenced to seven days in jail for official misconduct on the job. Cortez was accused of fondling a woman during a DUI stop. He also received one year of probation.