Kam Chancellor refocused on teammates after 2015 holdout
RENTON, Wash. (AP) After a contentious holdout last year that extended two weeks into the regular season, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor is enjoying football again.
Chancellor is smiling and joking with teammates again. It's an aspect of Chancellor's personality that wasn't often on display after he returned to the team last season.
''The presence and the atmosphere is amazing,'' cornerback DeShawn Shead said of having Chancellor with the team this year in training camp. ''Everybody is here. That leadership and the brotherhood is connected. You don't feel no missing links.''
Chancellor missed the first two games of 2015 as the Seahawks went 0-2 without him. However, Chancellor's holdout resulted in nothing gained for the star safety and a massive amount of fines for the missed time.
He returned to the team and played in 11 regular-season games. An injured tailbone kept him out for three weeks in December. But despite not getting the new contract he desired, Chancellor has managed to turn the page on the contractual front and focus once again on his teammates.
''Just getting back to where we left off,'' Chancellor said. ''We want to get back to being at the top of the division, the conference and getting that ring again. That's the main focal point and you can't do that unless you're focusing on each other.''
The Seahawks tried to go about their business without letting Chancellor's absence become a distraction. However, it clearly had an effect on the team, both on the field and in the locker room.
''When he's here and he's around, he affects other people,'' head coach Pete Carroll said. ''His toughness, his mentality, his words, his leadership is just exemplary. We dealt with the void is really what I can tell you best, it's just great to have him around.''
Chancellor hauled in an interception during the first day of training camp when a Russell Wilson pass was tipped in the air by tight end Luke Willson. On Day 2, Chancellor watched the offense beat them on a rollout for a big gain. When the offense ran the same play again later in practice, Chancellor read what was coming and jumped the route to force an incompletion on a pass to Doug Baldwin.
Chancellor then quickly got in Baldwin's face, enthusiastically celebrating while telling Baldwin they couldn't beat him with the same play twice. It's the type of carefree persona that Chancellor seemed to be lacking upon returning to the team last season.
''That's what brothers do, you go out there and you have fun,'' Chancellor said. ''Whether it's exchanging words, hitting each other. It's like boys growing up. You want to beat up on your brother a little bit but it's all in fun. That's just tough love and you want to spread that tough love among the group.''
Chancellor characterized his 2015 as ''up and down,'' which could easily describe the Seahawks' season as a whole. After a 2-4 start to the year, Seattle won eight of their final 10 games to earn a wild card spot. In the divisional round, Seattle fell into a 31-0 hole to the Carolina Panthers before scoring 24 straight points to nearly overcome the deficit.
Now everything feels normal again. Everyone reported for camp on time and the Seahawks feel strongly about the roster they've constructed.
''It feels like the (Super Bowl) 48 year,'' Chancellor said. ''It feels like everybody is bringing that intensity, everybody is out to prove something. They may be or may not be, but it just feels that way. The brotherhood is getting even tighter. Guys are just out here having fun and not thinking about a lot.''
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