Getting to play in the same game for the same team, as could happen Thursday night, would be a dream come true for brothers Kam Chancellor and Keenan Lambert.
Of all the things Kam Chancellor and Keenan Lambert shared while growing up in the same house in Norfolk, Va., there’s one thing they’ve never done together — play in a football game.
That’s something that each hopes happens for the first time Thursday night when the Seahawks host the Dallas Cowboys at 7 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.
Chancellor, Seattle’s All-Pro strong safety, is now healthy after missing the team’s first two preseason games with a groin injury and expected to see his first action of the preseason.
Lambert, who is technically Chancellor’s half-brother (they have the same mother) is a free agent vying for a spot on the team.
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The two are separated by roughly three-and-a-half years — Chancellor is 28 and Lambert is 24— and while they were often participants in the same rec leagues, Lambert says the two never suited up for the same team at the same time.
That should happen Thursday. What Lambert also hopes is that they end up on the field at the same time.
“It’d be unbelievable,’’ Lambert said of the prospect of being able to look across the field and spot his older brother. “It’d be a dream come true. I always wanted to play with him because I always looked up to him as a father figure, a role model, everything. So just being beside him, getting directions from him, it’d be nice. It’d probably give me jitters.’’
What the two have been able to share most of the last month has been almost as good, Lambert said.
A second-year player from Norfolk State, Lambert was with the Seahawks in training camp last season as an undrafted free agent strong safety. But after he and Chancellor took part in the off-season program together, Chancellor then held out.
Lambert was released by the Seahawks and then signed by the Raiders before Chancellor ended his holdout.
The 6-foot, 209-pound Lambert played in five games with the Raiders but was then released and spent the off-season looking for a new team.
After a being in rookie mini-camp with the Giants but not signed to a contract, Lambert was back home in Virginia in early August in the middle of a workout when his phone rang.
“I was in the middle of a rep and I noticed the number and recognized the area code and I told the trainer to hold on real quick, I’ve got to pick this up,’’ Lambert said. “I flew out here like three hours later.’’
Lambert signed with Seattle on Aug. 4, and since then has developed something of a ritual. After each practice, he asks Chancellor what he thought. But Lambert says he wants those thoughts as unvarnished as possible.
“I make it a point to ask him to give me a strict evaluation of what he has seen,’’ Lambert said. “If he seems me progressing or staying normal or if I took a step back. That’s a way to grade myself to know what I need to do and what I need to work on and how I need to keep pushing forward to get to his level.’’
A year ago, Chancellor had to do that mostly in absentia. During his holdout, Chancellor was still able to see daily film of practice and could give Lambert tips.
But that the two can now meet after practice in person to go over the day’s events “has been amazing,’’ Chancellor said. “It’s a dream come true just having your little brother out there. Growing up in the same house hold since little kids. It’s just fun out there just showing him the ropes, showing him what I’ve learned over the previous year. I’m trying to give him an edge, put him a step ahead from where I was at his age and where he is in his career in the NFL.’’
Lambert faces a tough road to make the Seahawks’ roster with Kelcie McCray having sewn up a spot as a backup at both safety positions and veterans Brandon Browner and Steven Terrell and undrafted rookie free agent Tyvis Powell also vying for safety spots.
Chancellor, though, says his little brother is giving the others a good run.
“I’ve seen him make a lot of progress from last year to this year,’’ Chancellor said. “He looks a lot more loose this year. Last year I think he was a little bit stiff, that comes from not being clear on where you’re going. Knowing where you’re going on the field, knowing where to line up. When you’re kind of hesitant and it makes you look stiff out there like you don’t know what you’re doing. He’s a lot more loose now, he can kind of show his personality, he’s making some plays out there. He’s retaining information and doing well on the field.”
Watching brothers playing the same position at the same time, meanwhile, has been a unique experience for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
“They’re very close and care about each other very much,’’ he said. “Kam has set a standard that Keenan is willing to live up to. He is tough as nails and he’ll hit you in a heartbeat. He’s been a really good guy to coach, he’s very bright, very open and eager to learn and all of that. He’s going to knock somebody around this weekend and I’m sure he’s determined to.’’