The strong safety might not have been the most talented member of the Legion of Boom, but he was the most feared.
I don’t know what was said during the toast. I don’t know what type of bubbly they uncorked. I don’t know if any of them got together in person or all just gathered via Skype.
But I have to believe that, at some point Sunday, every pass-catcher in the NFL raised a glass and said “thank God we don’t have to deal with him again.”
After sending out a not-so-subtle tweet, it appears Kam Chancellor is officially stepping away from football. A neck injury suffered last year is forcing the Seahawks strong safety and Super Bowl champion to call it quits after eight seasons, four Pro Bowls and three Defensive Player of the Week awards.
It was a sobering moment for 12s and football fans in general. But for anyone who might be the target of an NFL quarterback … phew. What a relief.
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Bam Bam Kam was many a thing throughout his career. From strong-safety revolutionary, to emotional leader to head-scratching holdout, his legacy isn’t necessarily a simple one.
But if there is one truth that will forever be associated with the 30-year-old Chancellor, it’s this: That dude could hit.
“He plays in a dark place,” former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said of Chancellor after a 2015 playoff win. “He’s an intimidator, he’s an aggressive ballplayer and he plays by the rules. I couldn’t imagine him playing in the ‘70s. Some people wouldn’t be here if he was able to play in the ‘70s.”
If you’re in the mood for pure carnage, pull up one of Kam’s highlight reels on YouTube. What you’ll see is a slew of receivers and tight ends running routes before a lifetime of PTSD set in.
Didn’t matter if you were Jason Witten or Vernon Davis or Demaryius Thomas, Chancellor was going lay you out and remove the fun from football. As one announcer said after Kam roughed up Rams receiver Lance Kendricks on a crossing route — “want to play receiver in this league? No thank you.”
Chancellor’s statistics weren’t always jarring, but those didn’t reflect his impact. A few years ago, Washington’s Santana Moss had a pass hit him right in the chest as Kam came zeroing in.
There is no proof that a charging Chancellor is what caused Moss to drop the ball before impact, but common sense would suggest it was. Survival isn’t an easy instinct to ignore.
“When you’re running at me like that, and I’m running at you — it’s gonna be a nasty scene,” Chancellor once said.
Kam may never have been the best member of the Legion of Boom, but he was the hardest to imitate. Six-foot-3, 225 pound former quarterbacks aren’t supposed to convert to strong safety and bludgeon the NFL — but somehow Chancellor did.
Will people remember him stripping Calvin Johnson at the 1, forcing an Adrian Peterson fumble in the playoffs and jumping over the offensive line twice against Carolina? Of course. Will they lament the two games he missed due to an ill-advised holdout in 2015? Yeah, they’ll do that, too. But around these parts, Chancellor will mainly spawn thoughts of “The Enforcer,” — the Seahawk who terrorized and traumatized anyone holding a football or thinking about catching one.
“I’ve played through all types of bruises and injuries at a high level, but this one I just can’t ignore,” Chancellor said in his tweet. “Time for the next chapter!”
Sad day for Seahawks fans, who won’t get to see Bam Bam play again. Sad day for his teammates, who always praised his locker-room presence.
But good day for the pass-catchers of the NFL. They’ll never be haunted by Chancellor again.
At least not when they’re awake.