RENTON Kam Chancellor’s long, “humbling” offseason journey is complete.
From confined to a wheelchair to hummin’ along again as the Seahawks’ starring strong safety.
Now about that contract extension...
“I am where I thought I’d be,” Chancellor said Tuesday, after the most promising sight yet this spring for Seattle’s defense: him teaming with fellow safety Earl Thomas in being full go and flying around the field throughout the first day of minicamp.
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“I am where I am supposed to be.”
Chancellor played for the last two seasons through pain in both ankles that shot up his legs when he changed direction on the field. So, yes, essentially it was daily pain. He had bone spurs removed from each ankle in April.
“I had surgery, what, four or five years ago, and had to get it again. I mean, I don’t know what it is. It’s just a part of, I guess, me,” he said with a shrug following the 90-minute, no-contact practice at team headquarters. “I had bone spurs in my ankle, and they were kind of like tearing my leg up every time I dorsiflexed.
“But now they’re clean now, and I feel good.”
He was so anxious to get back onto the field, even for relatively meaningless organized team activities and this minicamp, Chancellor had surgeries on both ankles at the same time.
“I had this surgery before, and I had it one at a time. And I just didn’t want to go under the knife again,” he said. “So I just did it all at the same time. Just dealt with the pain for a week. And I’m here now.”
That pain left him in a wheelchair for nine days. The five-time Pro Bowl hitter found life’s most basic needs were a huge, unfamiliar challenge.
“But I was still trying to get up and walk,” he said. “I had to use the restroom.
“Oh, very humbling. I’ve never been in that situation before, in a wheelchair and just not able to do what I want when I want, not able to move how I want. It was very humbling.
“I don’t want to go through that process again.”
He hopes to be going through the contract process here soon.
Chancellor turned 29 the same month he was in a wheelchair this spring. He has one year remaining on his deal. He is scheduled for $6.8 million in base pay and $325,008 in per-week roster bonuses during the 2017 season, with a salary-cap charge of $8.125,008.
He’s wanted a new contract for two years, and infamously held out for two months into the 2015 regular season to get one -- only to gain nothing.
I asked him Tuesday if the Seahawks have talked to him yet on the team’s intentions of extending his deal beyond 2017.
“Nah, I haven’t,” he said.
Asked if this is going to be a difficult contract to get done, Chancellor chuckled and said: “I have no idea. That’s not up to me.”
Coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday the team wants to get an extension done with Chancellor, and that player and team are “in a good place” on the issue.
“We would very much like to work something out,” Carroll said. “We are working at it.
“And that’s really all we’ll say. But we are working at it, and with every intention of taking care of his business ... it takes a while. Things take a while. And his frame of mind and our frame of mind is in a really good place.
“We are going to work hard to get something done.”
If the Seahawks don’t get Chancellor a new deal before the season begins Sept. 10 at Green Bay, they may have some disgruntled guys in their locker room.
Such as Michael Bennett (and, yes, the Pro Bowl defensive end was at practice Tuesday because minicamp is mandatory and Bennett doesn’t like to give away his money).
See, Russell Wilson, Seattle’s $87.6 million quarterback, is the face of the franchise. But Chancellor is its soul.
Chancellor is beloved inside the locker room for being a steady, example-setting leader -- and for playing through the pain such as the searing ones up from his ankles while injured in each of the last three seasons.
He has set the defense’s thumping tone for most of the last six years. Carroll and general manager John Schneider have said repeatedly this offseason they want to take care of core guys, and Chancellor is certainly one of those.
He was the first player Carroll mentioned in his postgame press conference following the playoff loss at Atlanta as the foundation for the Seahawks’ strong leadership base. He is beloved among teammates for his intensity, his wisdom and his hard-hitting style of play.
Then Seattle drafted Michigan’s Delano Hill in the third round this spring. The team did that with an obvious eye toward eventual life after Chancellor -- whenever that may begin.
Hill is 6 feet 1 and 216 pounds. He, like Chancellor, is known as an aggressive tackler against the run. And, of course, he’s eight years younger than Chancellor. Hill had been getting first-team work while Chancellor watched earlier OTA practices into this month.
Hill was the second-team safety on Tuesday.
Chancellor has such an elite reputation around the league he got selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time last season, when he missed four games from October into November with a groin injury that he tried playing through on top of the ankle pain.
Does he think all of that his play in his favor in the Seahawks’ decision on whether to give him a new contract?
“Hopefully a lot of it plays in my favor,” Chancellor said. “But, I mean, whatever I am supposed to get, whatever I deserve, that’s what I’ll get.”