"Pray for your boy," four-time Pro Bowler Kam Chancellor wrote in a statement, one that served as his goodbye to the NFL on Sunday. After the boomingest member of the Legion of Boom suffered a season-ending neck injury in November, he was left "at one of my lowest points as a Man," he wrote, "because football is all I knew outside of serving the Lord."
A fifth-round draft pick in 2010 (the Seahawks took Earl Thomas in the first round that year), he would go on to help establish Seattle's defense as the league's toughest, his career highlighted by six tackles and an interception in a 43-8 Super Bowl XLVIII triumph over the Broncos. With Richard Sherman now in San Francisco and Chancellor retiring, that defense will look radically different going forward. An era has ended.
But Chancellor's departure also signals the end of something else, a style once prevalent across the league. After explaining the role football has long held in his life, Chancellor wrote, "To walk away from the game by choice is one thing, to walk away from the game because of the risk of paralysis is another." And following his request for prayers, the safety admitted, "I have no clue how these head injuries will go after the game."
The league won't be the same—not without Chancellor, but also not since Ryan Shazier's terrifying injury last year, and not after the institution of a new rule that aims to keep players from lowering their heads and laying the boom. Ultimately, we may never again see a defense heralded for its intimidation factor. The cost is just too high.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Albert Breer has a special Independence Day Monday column ... Jenny Vrentas comments on the Jameis Winston settlement ... Jonathan Jones hears from Carolina's newest defensive coordinator ... and more.
1. Following the NFL's three-game suspension of Jameis Winston, the woman he has now apologized to issued a statement. "I am glad to see the NFL discipline Jameis Winston," the former Uber driver who was allegedly groped by Winston said. "I do appreciate his apology, even if it needs some work." Meanwhile, a quote Winston gave last month has caused a stir among the Buccaneers fan base. "That’s what I want to be to these kids," he told Ira Kaufman, "that perfect role model."
2. The NFL's spring list of best-selling jerseys presents an interesting snapshot for the league. Only three players in the top 10 (Tom Brady, Nick Foles and Marcus Mariota) appeared in last season's playoffs.
3. Can you get a better endorsement than "wondrous miracles of kindness and inspiration"? That was Maria Panaritis's description of Nick Foles and his memoir after speaking to him.
4. 71-year-old Wade Phillips has stuck around as coaching staffs get younger and younger, and now he's primed to lead one of the league's best defenses. Robert Mays explains why.
5. Ben Volin details how the NFL will handle losing 85 years of officiating experience.
6. Raised in Annapolis, Bill Belichick sent his condolences to The Capital Gazette newspaper in a short statement after five employees were killed by a gunman late last week.
7. If you've been waiting for Dak Prescott content, Jori Epstein caught up with his childhood friends and got some stories.
8. Bruce Feldman polled college coaches, who said 80 to 90% of teams try to steal opponent signals, and in the same story says similar tactics helped the Colts dominate during the Peyton Manning era.
9. A small note from Albert Breer's Monday column that may interest you: "The NFL is relaxing its policy so that teams will now be able to wear their alternates/throwbacks or color rush jerseys on three occasions during the season. It used to be that teams could only wear the former twice, but this gives teams the option to wear them three times."
10. The CFL's Edmonton Eskimos are speaking to Inuit leaders about the team's nickname.
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Terrell Owens has still got ups.
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