RENTON, Wash. — A year ago at this time, Kam Chancellor‘s holdout was the biggest story line at Seattle Seahawks training camp.
Chancellor had three years remaining on his deal but felt he was underpaid. So he decided not to show up and carried his holdout through the first two games of the regular season.
This time around, he is back, healthy and, by all accounts, fully invested.
“It feels like the [Super Bowl] 48 year,” Chancellor said. “It feels like everybody bringing that intensity. Feels like everybody is out to prove something, which it may be or may not be. It just feels that way.”
The play of the Seahawks’ secondary has stood out early on in camp. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are playing like their usual selves. DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane bring versatility that Pete Carroll has not had in the past. Each guy can play inside or outside at cornerback depending on the matchup. And the coaches are trying to carve out a role for veteran Brandon Browner.
Then there’s this version of Chancellor.
“I think his presence by itself, man. He’s the enforcer of the defense,” defensive end Cliff Avril said. “He doesn’t say much but he goes out there, and just the power he brings when he hits guys, it just amplifies the game for us, it hypes us up.”
Chancellor is a prideful guy and doesn’t like to discuss the holdout publicly. But Carroll said that Chancellor has served as a sounding board for other players who might be dealing with distractions this summer.
Without him at the start of last season, the defense allowed 61 points in the first two games — both losses.
After Chancellor returned, the Seahawks allowed 15.43 points per game, the lowest mark in the NFL.
Asked what he learned over the past year, Chancellor said, “I learned that this is a new year. I learned that this is a business, this is the NFL. But more importantly, it’s about a brotherhood. We started a brotherhood here and you know, we’ve got to continue what we’ve started with. That’s the most important thing.
“Just getting back to where we left off. 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. You can’t do that unless you focusing on each other.”
Last offseason, the Seahawks were coming off of the devastating Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. This summer, there are fewer distractions.
Carroll has been saying for months now that the feeling around the team reminds him of 2013.
“I think there is something going on here that’s come over a few years’ time,” he said. “I think there is a little bit of a frustration that we are not really in control of the things like we would like, and everybody’s worked with a mindset of bringing it for this camp right now, for the guys that are sitting across from them, and I really like it.
“There’s some similarities to a lot of different times when we felt really good, I know that. I felt similar like coming off after the Atlanta loss going to the playoffs. There was something, so maybe that is what [Chancellor] is talking about.”