RENTON — Shortly after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft by the Seahawks, DeeJay Dallas got on the phone with a team official to go through varying logistics of what would happen next.
Among the items on the agenda? What jersey number to select.
Dating back to youth football, Dallas had often worn the number 13, as he did throughout his career at the University of Miami.
As an NFL running back, though, that number was off the table. Numbers 1-19 are reserved for quarterbacks, kickers and receivers. He was instead going to have to pick a number from 20 to 49.
To Dallas it seemed easy — just switch the 1 and the 3 around as an homage to his youth football and Miami jersey number.
Dallas, though, also knew exactly what that meant — being the first Seahawk to wear the number of Kam Chancellor since his retirement in 2018.
The 5-10, 214-pound Dallas may have grown up in Georgia and played collegiately at Miami, but he knew all about the Legion of Boom and Chancellor’s role as one of its leaders.
“Of course I knew Kam wore this number,” Dallas said. “Kam’s a legend, man. If you don’t know about Kam Chancellor you probably live under a rock.”
So, before making it official that he’d take over the number 31, Dallas got Chancellor’s number and made a call of his own.
“I just felt it only right to ask Kam Chancellor, being the legend that he is for the Seahawks,” Dallas said. “I just had to do it. It felt right in my spirit to ask him just knowing what he’s done for this club and knowing what I want to do for this club. That’s why I really reached out to him and asked him for his blessing.”
Dallas got it, and so far has appeared to live up to the kind of standard Chancellor set of being smart, tough and dependable on the field.
Saying Dallas has exceeded expectations may be to undersell what the team thought when it drafted him.
But it’s fair to say he’s at least met them.
“He has been a stud,” coach Pete Carroll said earlier during camp. “He hasn’t missed anything and he has taken a ton of snaps. He has really picked things up really well.”
One of the things that drew the Seahawks to Dallas was his versatility. He played quarterback for a time in high school and was originally a receiver at Miami before being moved to running back.
The background as a receiver and quarterback, the Seahawks felt, might help him adjust quickly to the role they felt he might be a good fit for immediately — as the third-down/two-minute back, a role that calls both for receiving skills and blitz pickup on the fly.
But Carroll said Dallas may have been even more advanced in the passing game than the team thought.
“Right from the first few days he was with us I know Russ (Russell Wilson) and the coaches were really confident in him,” Carroll said. “He runs routes really well and catches the ball beautifully.”
That ability appears to have made Dallas a lock to make the roster, competing for the third-down role with a former Miami teammate, Travis Homer, the two appearing set to complement Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, who figure to fill the base-down duties.
When he talked to media via Zoom Wednesday, though, Dallas said he is taking nothing for granted with cutdown day looming on Saturday.
Asked if he’d been told anything yet about his role, Dallas said he’ll do whatever the team wants. “I’ll give water to whoever,” he said. “I’ll do whatever it is — as long as I’m on the team, I’m good.”
He was willing to be a little more outspoken when asked what he thinks he’s showed the team so far.
“I hope I showed that I was tough,” he said. “I pride myself on being a tough, gritty person. So I hope I showed them that I was being tough.”