Seattle's Kam Chancellor reached out last spring to Atlanta rookie Keanu Neal, a player who has drawn a lot of comparisons to Chancellor in his style of play.
Atlanta strong safety Keanu Neal isn’t quite a carbon copy of Kam Chancellor.
But then, almost no one could be considering that at 6-3, 225 pounds, Chancellor has helped redefine how NFL teams view the requirements for the position.
But if Chancellor can’t lend Neal his size — Neal stands 6-foot, 211 pounds — he can help with everything else.
And last spring, Chancellor decided to do just that.
Hearing that Neal — who played at Florida and was a first-round pick of the Falcons last year at No. 17 overall — admired his game, Chancellor called and invited Neal to work out with him in Norfolk, Va.
The two had initially made contact via Twitter, so the call wasn’t completely out of the blue.
Still, Chancellor recalled this week that Neal seemed taken aback at the invitation.
“He was just like he can’t believe that I reached out to him because me being who I am,’’ Chancellor said. “But I don’t look at myself as that, so it’s kind of hard to understand what he was saying because I don’t look at myself like ‘I’m Kam Chancellor.’ I’m just another human being trying to help out another human being. He was just in shock. But we hit it off and he has been like a little brother to me.’’
Neal joined Chancellor for workouts in June and the two keep in regular touch (another who works out with Chancellor is former WSU star Deone Bucannon, now with the Arizona Cardinals).
Neal, in fact, has a signed jersey of Chancellor’s hanging in his locker. With Atlanta and Seattle facing off in a divisional playoff game this week, Neal was asked if he planned to take it down.
According to ESPN.com, Neal said no.
“I’ll just leave it in there,’’ Neal said. “The brotherhood is bigger than football. It’s not going against the Seahawks and everything like this. We’re brothers. I don’t see it as, ‘OK, it’s Seahawks, so I’ve got to hide it.’ It’s Kam Chancellor. It’s a brother to me.”
Chancellor doesn’t have a jersey of Neal’s, but if he did he made it clear he’d keep it in his locker this week, as well.
“Yeah, it’s bigger than football,’’ he said. “It’s the relationships you build while you are playing this game.’’
Chancellor had more time than he wanted to watch Neal during the team’s regular-season game on Oct. 16 — Chancellor had to sit out with a groin injury.
Chancellor said he sees a lot of himself in Neal, who put up some Chancellor-like numbers this season with 106 tackles – second on the team — while also forcing five fumbles.
“Just his movements, his quickness at his age, his smarts — he is very smart very intelligent,’’ Chancellor said. “And the biggest thing is just not even football-related just his character. That’s the thing that I see a lot in him that kind of we have the same character.’’