As the Seahawks fielded one of the best defenses in NFL history throughout the decade of the 2010s, a commonly asked question was how many players on that team will eventually make the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
That question will begin to get something of an answer this year as for the first time, one of the key members of that defense — safety Kam Chancellor — is among the list of modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
Chancellor was nominated in his first year of eligibility, having suffered a career-ending neck injury in a game at Arizona in 2017 and is now five years out of the NFL.
Chancellor is one of nine first-time nominees. Among the other first-time nominees is defensive end Dwight Freeney, who played four games for the Seahawks in 2017 in his final season in the NFL.
Among the repeat nominees are six others with significant Seahawks ties led by quarterback Dave Krieg and running back Shaun Alexander — Krieg is in the team’s Ring of Honor and it was announced last week that Alexander will be inducted later this year — as well as running back Ricky Watters, linebacker Chad Brown, punter Jeff Feagles and kicker John Kasay.
Kick returner/receiver Devin Hester, who was with Seattle in the 2016 postseason, is also among the nominees, as are former UW standouts Olin Kreutz (center) and Corey Dillon (running back) and WSU kicker Jason Hanson.
The list will be cut to 25 semifinalists on Nov. 15 with 15 finalists revealed in early January. Among 4-9 players will be selected at some point during the week before Super Bowl LVII.
Seahawks fans will undoubtedly watch closely to see how far Chancellor progresses.
Three other members of the LOB have often been viewed as more likely to make it given that they had lengthier careers and more Pro Bowl/All-Pro honors — middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas.
Chancellor being one of just nine players whose careers ended in 2017 to get nominated in the first year of eligibility illustrates the respect in which he was held during his career.
Chancellor made the Pro Bowl four times and was a second-team All-Pro pick twice. His play in the playoffs following the 2013 season as the Seahawks won the Super Bowl is also regarded as being as pivotal as anyone — he had interceptions in both the NFC title game and the Super Bowl, as well as delivering an early hit on Denver’s Demaryius Thomas in the Super Bowl generally considered as a key tone-setter as the Seahawks went on to win 43-8. That was the first of 10 tackles Chancellor had in the game, tying for the team high.
His neck injury limited him to 109 games.
But the Hall of Fame has increasingly considered a player’s impact during the time he played as being as important as longevity.
Tackle Tony Boselli, a member of the Class of 2020, played just 91 games, and a player to whom Chancellor often drew comparisons during his Seattle career — safety Kenny Easley — played just 89 before being inducted in 2017 (Easley was selected as a senior inductee).
Easley is the only defensive back in Seattle history to play his entire career with the team to then be selected to the Hall of Fame.
Of the others with Seahawks ties on the list, the one to watch is Watters, who was named a semifinalist in both 2020 and 2022. Watters played 10 years in the NFL from 1992-2001, making the Pro Bowl five times. He finished his career with four years in Seattle from 1998-2001 and is seventh in team history in yards gained with 4,009.