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Questions Remain After 'Soul Of Seahawks Defense' Ends Holdout

John Froschauer
AP Photo
Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor walks on the field for first practice after holding out over a contract dispute, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the team headquarters in Renton.

The Seahawks will have strong safety Kam Chancellor back for their home opener Sunday against the Chicago Bears. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it’s still not clear why Chancellor held out, or what brought him back.Why Now? What Changed?

Thiel said nothing Chancellor said in his 15-minute press conference Wednesday illuminated any of that.

"He did say 'I prayed on it.' I don't know whether God was suggesting that he hold out and this would be a good time to come in.

"He was vague about it except for the fact that he said he missed his teammates. He wanted to be there. He watched the games on television and, clearly, they were 0-2.

"He said he felt bad as a leader of the team. And I'm thinking 'Well, Kam, if you're a leader of the team, what are you doing on the outside?'" Thiel said.

"That mystery is still puzzling for a lot of people. He had no good outcome in this strategy. He was the only player in the NFL to do this this year.

"Certainly he felt himself a special talent. I do think the Seahawks fans and, certainly, his teammates appreciate his ferocity and his intensity that he brings to the game.

"They just couldn't get over why he would do something like this. And nothing he said Wednesday made it obvious as to what he planned to do. And he was not necessarily defiant but he certainly wasn't contrite in his remarks."

What Was The Point?

Thiel explained Chancellor is in the second of a four-year contract. He wanted more money guaranteed and paid out earlier in his contract.

"The Seahawks made it clear to him and all teammates that the NFL custom is not to renegotiate a deal so early in its length," he said.

"They've been explicit. They've never done it before. And they were apprehensive about the precedent it would cause should they do it for Chancellor, no matter how special his talents.

"Kam ignored all that obvious evidence...yet he continued to pursue this all through training camp. His goal was to get money promised him in 2016 and 2017 advanced into 2015. That didn't happen."

Is There A Deal?

"We still don't know exactly what deal may have been struck because they were absolutely silent on that Wednesday," Thiel continued.

"We don't know whether he got anything out of this. We're pretty certain, though, the Seahawks said 'Kam, you're not going to get anything until you show up.'

"And that may have been the final reason that he came in, because he would get nothing if he continued to hold out. He's already lost two paychecks - over half a million dollars that he won't ever see again."

'Special Talents'

Thiel said Chancellor has been a vital part of the Seahawks' defense.

"He's really the soul of the defense. He is the symbol of the Seahawks' ferocity on defense as Marshawn Lynch is on offense.

"That sort of dynamism is part of his leadership. Players really do listen to him. That's why it was so dismaying when he removed himself voluntarily from what they were doing.

"I'm sure that most of the teammates are going to embrace him and they're going to say all the right things publicly about having him back...but, really, it was foolish.

"These two games - I'm not saying they could've been won with Kam Chancellor but the chances improved on capturing two winnable games if Chancellor had been part of the team.

"So, if the Seahawks miss the playoffs by one game. Or they make the playoffs and have to fly to Green Bay in January, I think we're going to have to revisit with Kam about just exactly why he cost them what he did early in the season."


You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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