Kam Chancellor is back in the Seahawks’ fold. Now the question is whether the Seahawks can move on and salvage their season.
If you were expecting Kam Chancellor to slink back into Seahawks camp, forlorn and dripping with equal parts regret and shame, well, that’s not his style. Not in the slightest.
He didn’t acknowledge any sort of miscalculation in launching an ill-advised holdout that was doomed for failure. He said that his motivation for staying away was “between me and business,’’ and deflected all further questions regarding his contract by saying he’d deal with it after the season. He came back now, Chancellor said, because he prayed on it Tuesday night and it felt right in his heart.
Asked if he had any fear of rust after nearly two months away from the team, Chancellor replied, “No fear at all. I’m a fearless man.”
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That attitude — fearless, fearsome — is precisely what the Seahawks, winless after two games, need to jump start their season. Chancellor back at strong safety, dissuading opposing receivers from challenging the middle of the field, making them pay if they don’t heed that warning, is what they’ve been missing.
They needed this day to come. For the sake of a third Super Bowl run, they needed their defensive catalyst back in the fold, before any angst and incrimination was allowed to bubble up and pour forth from within the locker room.
Before Chancellor’s shadow over the team (which was there, whether they admitted it or not) enveloped them.
Never mind that Chancellor was tone deaf when asked Wednesday what message he would give to Seahawks fans. Presented an opportunity for a sincere plea for 12s to stand by him, perhaps even a heartfelt apology for the upheaval he caused, he said instead, “I forgive those who understand what is going on, and those who don’t understand what is going on. Because if God can forgive, I can also.”
Chancellor forgives the fans? Seems like it should be the other way around — and no doubt that will be the case, the first time a Bears receiver feels the wrath of Bam-Bam on Sunday.
If I know fans, the bulk of them will toss aside whatever moral objections they might have had about Chancellor not honoring his contract, if he instigates a turn of fortune by their struggling team.
Chancellor said that watching the Seahawks lose those games hurt him “being the leader that I am.” That’s a strange brand of leadership, considering that the Seahawks may face the prospect of losing a playoff berth, or home-field advantage, by virtue of one of those games where Chancellor’s presence could have meant a win.
But Chancellor’s teammates welcomed him heartily, and by all accounts, unconditionally. Carroll said the vibe he gets is that the season is restarting, and just in the nick of time. Linebacker K.J. Wright sensed a new energy with Chancellor’s return, and downplayed any suggestion that the Seahawks would have to deal with any lingering tension.
“I don’t know why people keep saying that. There’s no tension,’’ Wright said. “We’re all happy. The tension has been released. It’s just good that he’s here…. We all understood the situation. He’s here now, and we’ll go get this thing rolling.”
Whatever healing needs to be done will be facilitated by coach Pete Carroll, who will call upon his proven status as a master team-builder. Carroll said that even though players “welcomed (Chancellor) with open arms,” that doesn’t mean there weren’t some feelings about the situation. And Carroll doesn’t mind having open discussions about it. In fact, they already have, he said.
“I’m pretty good about this,’’ Carroll said of managing whatever resentment might exist. “What’s happened is already gone, and there’s really nothing that we can do about that. How are we going to respond now? That’s what’s important. And I’m pretty disciplined about that, which I need to be because I’m asking all of these guys to do that.
“We’ve been doing that for years. I think it’s part of what gives us a chance to respond and get back on track and recreate the things that have been positive for us. So it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that.”
Carroll called Chancellor “one of the blood and guts of this program.” He spoke of all the ways Chancellor’s return will help the Seahawks’ defense, before cutting to the chase.
“He’s better than anyone in the world at doing what he does for us.”
That’s the crux of this whole matter, isn’t it? It’s why Chancellor’s absence was so troubling, and induced such strong emotions — because he’s a difference-maker.
And it’s what makes all Carroll’s efforts to work through any issues that may arise, or are still festering, so important. If the Seahawks’ season is really beginning now, they need to create a beacon of light to shine through the shadows.