Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor signed a 3-year, $36 million contract extension with the team this week. Fans know Chancellor for his dominance on defense. But there’s more to him. And he has a lot in common with a retired Seahawk who’s about to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It’s all part of this week’s conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and 88.5’s Kirsten Kendrick.
'When He Speaks, Everyone Listens'
"I think Kam Chancellor epitomizes what Pete Carroll wants in his Seahawks," Thiel said. "In terms of intensity, ferocity (and) commitment to the team.
"He's done enough things to gain the respect of the locker room like no other player.
"He's not as loquacious as Richard Sherman. And he's not the human Hallmark card, as I call Russell Wilson," Thiel joked. "And he's not the deep-thinking, cerebral guy like Doug Baldwin.
"But he is honest. He's authentic. He's sincere. When he speaks, everyone listens."
"The Seahawks are thrilled that he is such a leader, even though Pete Carroll had to coax it out of him," Thiel continued.
"In his first year, Carroll talked with Chancellor and said, 'You need to be a more vocal leader because you're going to be in a position of prominence.'
"And Chancellor said, 'No, I can't do that 'cause I haven't done anything on the field yet.'
"But by the second year he had done things. He had started. And the Seahawks were on their way to the prominence that they've had. And Chancellor started to come out of his shell.
"It has been a real bonus for the Seahawks to not only have such a dominant player on the field, such a ferocious hitter, but also a leader in ways that are different than the rest of the team.
"He commands a ton of respect. A lot of this financial reward is about that leadership as much as it is his play."
Thiel said Chancellor made a mistake when he tried to renegotiate his contract two years ago.
"He stunned Carroll and the team and certainly the fans when he held out of training camp in 2015," he explained.
"He missed the exhibition season and the first two games, which the Seahawks lost, trying to get a better deal.
"He was entering the second of his four-year contract. The Seahawks have a team policy, as do many teams: no renegotiation until you reach the final year of the contract.
"Everyone knew the Seahawks weren't going to give in. But Chancellor stuck to it until the foolishness of it became evident.
"Two years later now, it's pretty obvious that both Chancellor and the Seahawks worked out a relationship that did not impede the team.
"To reach this point where they're going to continue with him through 2020 as a player who's going to lead this team.
"And it's really a testament to how the Seahawks work around the bumps in any relationship."
Comparison To Seahawks Legend
Thiel compared Chancellor to retired Seahawks legend Kenny Easley, who is being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 5.
"The ironies are just amazing," Thiel said.
"Chancellor was born the year after Kenny Easley retired from the Seahawks.
"He was a player here from 1981-1987. Three-time All-Pro. The most ferocious athlete I've ever seen.
"He is from the same area that Kam Chancellor is - in Virginia. They play the same position - strong safety. And they've played their entire careers for the same team. Very weird how this works out.
"But the playing styles are just remarkably similar because each of them intimidates the other team.
"In fact, the stories were legendary with Kenny Easley when he was here that opposing offensive coordinators, the first thing they did in game prep for a Seahawks game was find out, 'Where is Kenny Easley playing and how do we avoid him?' They do the same thing with Chancellor.
"It is really a great tribute to Easley. Even though, at age 58, he had to wait a long time before he got in the Hall, it is richly deserved.
"And I think, in a few years, maybe Kam Chancellor will follow him into the Hall."