Dave Boling

Dave Boling: Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor misses bigger picture with holdout

Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, left, and Russell Wilson hold up a 12th man flag at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in January following the team’s second straight NFC Championship victory. Chancellor had not yet reported to training camp Wednesday due to a contract dispute.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, left, and Russell Wilson hold up a 12th man flag at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in January following the team’s second straight NFC Championship victory. Chancellor had not yet reported to training camp Wednesday due to a contract dispute. Staff photographer

Sometimes they crumple, like aluminum soda cans. Sometimes they are launched backward, or frozen in place, stunned, with cartoon birds circling their helmets.

However the vanquished are dispatched, Kam Chancellor is generally nearby, pounding his right fist into his left palm, like the steel-driving John Henry of folklore. Or, maybe, even more mythologically, like Thor with his thunderous hammer.

Chancellor vaguely explained that he’s pounding judgment with a commissioner’s gavel. (He seems to have a commissioner confused with a judge, but let’s not quibble.)

For the past several Seahawks seasons, there has been nothing subtle about Kam Chancellor’s play. And that’s how he’s approaching his contract holdout with the Seahawks.

And that’s a shame because he has limited leverage and awful timing. He’s a great player and admirable human with a flawed plan and bad advice. And he’s reaching a point where he’s running out of options for a graceful exit.

Better to have waited, seeing how the Seahawks came to him a year early on the contract he has now, which has three seasons remaining.

The Seahawks brought this one on themselves to a degree, moving money around to mollify Marshawn Lynch. Different circumstances because Chancellor has so many seasons remaining on his contract.

While the Seahawks will, in full sincerity, profess their undying appreciation for Chancellor in every regard, they invite an avalanche of avarice by getting into Chancellor’s deal so soon.

Coach Pete Carroll acknowledged on KJR-AM on Wednesday that Lynch is different than the normal player. And Chancellor, also, is different as a player and a leader, a man who was voted captain of one of the NFL’s all-time best defenses.

But half a dozen other Seahawks could show up with hands out in regular cycles thereafter.

The problem is that precedents don’t heal quickly once broken. And Carroll told KJR that Chancellor has dug in his heels.

Even if inclined, the Hawks couldn’t wiggle much. They do computer models of the full slate of contracts years in advance. And they have some of the smallest remaining cap room in the NFL after locking up so many others.

Chancellor got his in 2013, when the Seahawks eagerly extended him a year before his deal was up. They’d have likely gotten back to him early again if he’d waited. Now they’re forced into hard-lining him.

Driven by the obvious factors, that a body that delivers so many devastating blows is in risk of quick deterioration itself, Chancellor is trying to get more money in the account before he starts hurting himself — with all the fist-pounding if nothing else.

But he’s at risk of having to come up with almost $600,000 in fines the team could levy for his camp absences thus far.

During offseason training sessions, Chancellor explained that he was feeling stronger than ever, even though he played in the Super Bowl loss with at least two leg injuries.

“The mindset is sharpened even more,” Chancellor said. “We’re more focused, more driven; we’re just hungry for the first game of the year.”

Between then and the start of training camp, Chancellor developed a hunger for stacks of lettuce.

Particularly because there seems so little to gain, given the timing, Chancellor is most crucially mistaken in taking the narrow view. He’s thinking too small.

He’d be better playing further into this contract, and use the Seahawks to help advance his brand. He’s the kind of player who can lift Seattle to another Super Bowl.

I’d say, take that exposure, Kam, and exploit it like crazy. You’ve already got a national reputation as a good guy and an indisputably devastating hitter.

Rack up the endorsements, flex those pecs and guns on every magazine cover you can find. Take acting classes. You could do an action-hero movie already — without computer-generated alterations.

Dude, you are Judge Dredd. Pound that Gavel of Ultimate Justice on the big screen.

You’re already Captain Seattle. Go for Captain America.

There’s nothing that isn’t possible if you start looking at the big picture.

Get back into camp. Help your buddies to another championship.

That’s how you can use football before it uses you.

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