Over the years, Kam Chancellor has become the Seahawks’ unofficial team mediator: a listener when players are frustrated, a soother of fired-up personalities and a respected and measured voice in disputes.
When Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman became overly excited on the sideline against the Rams two weeks ago, one of the first people in his face, trying to calm him, was safety Kam Chancellor.
The same was true of Sherman’s first sideline outburst this season against the Falcons — a game Chancellor wasn’t even in uniform for.
“Because I’ve been there from the beginning with him,” Chancellor said. “I watched him come in. We’re brothers.”
There’s more to it than that. Over the years, Chancellor has become the Seahawks’ unofficial team mediator: a listener when players are frustrated, a soother of fired-up personalities and a respected and measured voice in disputes.
“Kam just has a good, calming voice,” Sherman said. “He’s one of those guys that everybody respects.”
Part of that comes naturally to Chancellor.
“I’ve always had to be the older guy growing up,” he said. “I always had to be the oldest kid growing up, so it’s just a part of my nature.”
The way Chancellor plays, the way he throws around his body and delivers big hits, has always won him respect.
The talking part is still kind of new. It was a big deal in 2014 to Chancellor and his teammates when, at Michael Bennett’s request, Chancellor gave the pregame talk. Chancellor was a team captain that season and is again one this season (He wasn’t one last year, when he held out the first two games. He later apologized to teammates.). But he preferred talking one-on-one instead of in team settings.
“Ever since his second year or so, third year for sure, he’s always been that guy,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s earned that. It’s the kind of thing you can’t do much about. He’s just got it. So everybody is willing to listen to him — sometimes better than others. But the relationships are deep, and he’s poured himself into them with the guys so they feel like they can communicate with him.”
It feels even more important for Chancellor to handle that role as the Seahawks have released veterans who previously filled leadership roles. Chancellor is one of the longest-tenured players on the roster (punter Jon Ryan is the only player who has been on the team longer, and safety Earl Thomas is the only other player still around from the 2010 draft).
“He and Sherm are about as close as two players can be,” Carroll said. “They’ve been through so much together. They’ve grown up together. They have such tremendous respect for one another. They can probably go anywhere with their conversation and concern and help one another.”
The role of mediator is one Chancellor embraces, and it’s an important one on a team with big personalities and alpha males.
“I love it because I love my brothers,” Chancellor said. “I love it. I love anytime they’re going through something they can come to me, lean on me. They can have my ear. I listen. I’m a great listener so I listen to them, and I tell them a lot of things from experience. I’ve been through a lot.”