Whether Chancellor gets the medical clearance is a big "if." He has a nerve injury in his neck and hasn't played since November.
Any thought that Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was considering retirement was almost solely based on social-media speculation, some driven by him.
Chancellor, though, has said nothing publicly since suffering a season-ending neck injury Nov. 9 against Arizona. Also noted often of late, it would make zero sense for Chancellor to retire and walk away from $12 million (the total injury guarantees in his contract for the 2018 and 2019 seasons).
But if further affirmation was needed that Chancellor has no plans to hang it up anytime soon, it came Tuesday in a report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said Chancellor “intends to play” in 2018 if he can get medical clearance.
That’s a big “if.” Chancellor has a nerve injury in his neck that resulted in a stinger near the end of the Arizona game and hasn’t played since. Unlike defensive end Cliff Avril, who had a similar injury, Chancellor did not have surgery and hopes it will heal on its own.
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Coach Pete Carroll said at the end of the season that Avril and Chancellor “will have a hard time playing again” due to the nature of their injuries.
The Seahawks can release Avril and owe him roughly $1.6 million, but Chancellor’s contract includes a $6.8 million base salary that was guaranteed for injury and became fully guaranteed Friday because he was still on the roster, as well as a similar injury guarantee for $5.2 million in 2019.
Though it might have been nice to think Chancellor might do the Seahawks a favor and retire, with some on social media wondering if the sides could work out a settlement, there’s no reason for Chancellor not to try extending his career and receive the money owed him in a contract he signed before the start of last season (a three-year, $36 million extension that runs through 2020).
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said Thursday that Chancellor was full steam ahead on continuing to try to play again in 2018.
“He and his wife are traveling around,’’ Sherman said. “They went to Italy, New York at some fashion show. He is in great spirits. Everything is just testing. He has to go back and get an MRI every couple of months, so there’s not much he can do, like any rehab. He can do the healing. So just have to make sure the (MRI) pictures look OK.’’
If the pictures look OK, then Chancellor plans to play in 2018 — the team might not have much of a look at Chancellor until the offseason program begins April 16.
If he is not cleared to play, then he likely would begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, where he could spend the season if he’s not cleared.
For now, it’s one big waiting game, with it becoming clearer that Chancellor is willing to wait.