Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Jul 2018

Kam Chancellor Announces Retirement

In unsurprising news, Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor has announced his retirement due to a neck injury suffered last year against Arizona.

In a statement, Chancellor said his final test "showed no healing" and put him "at risk of paralysis," calling it a sign from God "I just can't ignore."

Chancellor only played nine games after signing a contract extension with Seattle last August. His 2018 salary of $6.8 million became fully guaranteed when he was still on the roster in February.

Chancellor was named to four Pro Bowls and was second-team AP All-Pro in 2013 and 2014, the two years Seattle played in the Super Bowl. He led Seattle in solo tackles in those two playoff runs. Since he was drafted in 2010, Chancellor is one of eight players (and the only defensive back) with at least 400 solo tackles, 200 assists, and 10 interceptions.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 01 Jul 2018

48 comments, Last at 22 Jul 2018, 9:00am by bachslunch


by billprudden :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 7:51am

Gents -

Am I wrong that his definitive play was the early Super Bowl tackle of Demaryious Thomas?


by jtr :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 8:33am

It's a shame to hear that he's suffered what sounds like permanent damage to his neck. I'm just glad he's getting out rather than risking something even worse. I hope Ryan Shazier pays attention to this and maybe reconsiders his own attempt at a comeback.

Chancellor was one hell of a fun player to watch. He had that Troy Polamalu gene; wherever the ball ended up, Chancellor was sure to come flying in off the corner of the screen to make a play. I thought he should have been Super Bowl MVP against Denver.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 10:01am

Absent a first ballot HOF qb, and sometimes even with one, it's really, really, hard to maintain a championship caliber roster for more than 4 or 5 continuous years. It makes the management performance of Darth in Foxboro all the more impressive. Can Wilson be good enough to carry a team with a defense returning to average, or worse? Certainly not with this offensive line. The days of Seahawks dbs dominating games are over.

by RickD :: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 1:29am

The Seahawks are done. They haven't won more than 10 games in a season since the Butler pick in the Super Bowl. Sherman is gone, Kam has retired, and Earl Thomas is getting pretty upset. Nobody is picking them to win the division this season. They have apparently been passed by the Rams and possibly even the 49ers.

The O-line has been flawed for as long as I can remember, and it's no coincidence that the team has fallen on hard times (relatively speaking) as a result. It's just not an elite team any longer.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 8:11pm

The Unger for Graham trade was just poor, and I thought obviously so at the time. When you have a legitimately great defense, trading away blocking competency, for a tight end who doesn't contribute much with regard to blocking, when you have a qb who makes big plays when extends pass plays, indicates to me that you don't understand how to win games.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 07/18/2018 - 3:25pm

Ugh. That trade made both teams worse.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 07/18/2018 - 4:39pm

You're probably right.

by jtr :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 11:36am

I saw Tanier talking a little bit about Chancellor's HoF case. Can't see it at all, personally. If he'd gotten that Super Bowl MVP, he'd look a little better, but ultimately a resume topped by 2x second team All Pro is pretty far short of the HoF. Plus, safety has traditionally been a very difficult position to elect into the hall, and he's going to be around the same time as two surefire HoFers in Reed and Polamalu. Hard to see him even as a serious finalist.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 11:48am

He's a safety who only started 93 games, less than 6 season's worth, and has zero 1st team All Pro selections, and played on one championship team.

He's not getting in.

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 6:30pm

Not about Chancellor in particular (because, yes, I think he falls short), but if the trend of players retiring earlier continues (see: Patrick Willis and Calvin Johnson, for two), we might all need to re-calibrate how long a career needs to be to be HoF worthy.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 12:22am

Calvin Johnson had 40% more starts than Chancellor. I'm not sure you are wrong, but if you don't get past 100 starts, you still likely need to be racking up 3 or 4 1st team All Pro selections.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 3:31am

Kind of ironic that the last Seahawks safety to make the Hall of Fame, Kenny Easley, only started 87 games, though he had more superlatives (three first-team All-Pros, 1984 DPOY) and had his totals suppressed by playing through two strike years.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 9:35am

Yeah, a DPOY really helps.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 10:41am

k. easley hahd bunch of honors to where argfument can be made was truly gerat. K. Chancellor not as decorated a playetr so hard for him to get into hall of famer.

easley- played great, bunch of hinors, shortened careerr
chancellor- played very good, limited honors, sghortened carreer

by MC2 :: Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:01pm

I agree. Joey Browner and LeRoy Butler both have better HOF cases than Chancellor, and neither of them has ever come close to getting in. Chancellor is a classic "Hall of Very Good" guy.

I also agree with the comments below that Sterling Sharpe should be in, but it ain't going to happen. Besides his career being cut short due to injury, he's also hurt by the fact that a few years after he retired, passing numbers exploded, and his numbers look more ordinary now than they did back then. A similar thing happened in baseball with Dale Murphy, who retired a few years before MLB's power numbers spiked.

by RickD :: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 1:35am

It's incredibly hard to make the Hall as a pure safety. Dawkins is in, Ed Reed is a lock, and Polamalu isn't far behind. Kam doesn't stand a chance.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 4:38am

Sterling Sharpe - 112 games, 3x 1st team All Pro, 3x NFL receptions leader, 5 Pro Bowls.

Going to be difficult to get into the HoF as a WR for the opposite reason that it will be difficult for Chancellor to get in at safety.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 9:47am

I'd put Sharpe in. 3 first team All Pros, 5 Pro Bowls, in 7 seasons, without a single non productive season, and he only had good quarterbacking for 3 of those 7.

He won't get in, of course, because the selectors don't know, to quote Parcells, whether the ball is blown up or stuffed.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 4:41pm

Me too.

If he could have played another couple of seasons and been part of that Packers SB win in 1996-97, I reckon he'd be in.

Only hope now is the Veterans committee.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 11:12pm

Sterling Sharpe isn't in the HoF? I assumed he was..

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:15am

His brother Shannon is but he aint.

Consider also that the two WRs he was drafted with Tim Brown and Michael Irvin are in.

Their stats pale next to Sterling's over those seven years
- Tim Brown - 316 / 4,734 / 27 (plus kick returns)
- Michael Irvin - 416 / 6,935 / 40
- Sterling Sharpe - 595 / 8,135 / 65

I could bang on about this but I'm preaching to the converted.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 07/07/2018 - 3:17am

Any discussion of Tim Brown begins and ends with this caper, as far as I'm concerned: https://youtu.be/2NT2mbmS9gg#t=5m12s

by Theo :: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:24am

I think you assumed because he is a Legend in NFL Street.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 9:36am

Grouping Reed and Polamalu always makes me angry.

Troy Polamalu was that kid you grew up with who was preternaturally talented, but always relied on that talent - and was just so strong and fast and instinctive that it never bit him in the ass till he got to the NFL. He never learned to actually play defense - just played on pure instinct. Even at the NFL level, most teams couldn't take advantage of it.

But smart quarterbacks and smart coaches ate him alive. He was a liability in those game - he could be looked or pump faked out of position almost at will. When the Patriots played the Steelers - the game plan was basically "abuse troy polamalu".

You could never do that to Reed. He was just a better player. If he'd been as fast as Polamalu, I can't even imagine how good he would have been. If Polamalu had been as 'slow' as Reed, he wouldn't have made it in the NFL.

by jtr :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 10:27am

Reed was certainly a better player than Polamalu, and IMO Reed is the best safety to ever play the game. And yes, Polamalu's wild style of play was a double edged sword, and actively harmful once he slowed down a little bit. But Polamalu is still a Hall of Famer, which was the only point I was trying to make--that it's hard enough to get safeties into the hall, and two are going to go in right before or during the time Chancellor comes into consideration. Polamalu has a DPOY, 8 Pro Bowls, 4 First Team All-Pro's, and 2 Second Team. That's one more DPOY but one less Pro Bowl and First Team All Pro than Dawkins, who just got in. Plus Polamalu is going to get a bump in the voters' minds for two Super Bowl wins, and he will probably end up being viewed as the best defender of an era of dominant Steelers defenses.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 11:11pm

Sean Taylor (RIP) may well have been the best safety ever, we'll never really know, but I've never seen any other safety take over a game single-handedly

by Theo :: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:33am

Completely agree. Sean Taylor had become a nightmare for anyone he'd face.
He was just so ridiculously good.
And maybe it's the rule changes in the past decade that did it, but I've never seen a safety like him after he died. Nothing close.

by wabuffo :: Wed, 07/04/2018 - 2:30pm

IMHO - Ronnie Lott is/was the best safety ever. I have never seen a DB dominate opposing offenses like he did. Athletic, amazing ability to diagnose plays and, of course, legendary competitiveness.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 07/04/2018 - 2:30pm

I always remember this play by him ... https://youtu.be/Np07wzHHlhw?t=17m35s

A nice madden breakdown of the play at 19min04. He misses that play and the 49ers are 10-0 down and it's not even end of 1Q.

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 07/04/2018 - 2:58pm

And a Pro Bowl cornerback as well.

by Theo :: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:28am

...and when Polamalu got older and a bit slower, all those breakups, picks and well timed tackled became completions, long completions and whiffs.
The last 3 years of his career, Polamalu was a straight up liability and cringe worthy to watch. Only the half year he played semi-linebacker he was back to being useful.

by jtr :: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:45am

Oh yeah, he was flat-out awful late in his career. I was a bit disappointed in my fellow Steelers fans, because there were a good number of them who were loudly insisting that he still had it when he very clearly did not. I liked him in that dimebacker role, and I thought they could have extended his career for a few season with a full-time move to ILB. He had an insane amount of strength for a safety and routinely pushed offensive linemen back at the point of attack from his linebacker alignment. But they insisted on keeping him at safety and only sliding him down to 'backer in certain packages, and he simply could not play in space at all anymore.

by Jerry :: Fri, 07/06/2018 - 5:03am

At least you got to watch Mike Mitchell for the past few years.

No, Polamalu didn't make every play. That puts him in a group with everybody else who's played the game. And maybe he didn't age as gracefully as you (or anyone else) would have liked. But maybe the mindset that didn't accept getting older was the same one that allowed him to make absurd plays that other top-flight safeties wouldn't even consider attempting.

Carping about his failings, instead of appreciating how talented and entertaining Troy Polamalu was, is a great way to sound spoiled.

by jtr :: Fri, 07/06/2018 - 9:53am

I feel like this is a pretty severe overreaction to me saying he was a sure Hall of Famer who had a few bad years at the end.

by Jerry :: Sat, 07/07/2018 - 2:49am

An overreaction to an overreaction, perhaps.

by Theo :: Sun, 07/15/2018 - 4:50am

True, I should have added that Polamalu was flat out great in his first 9 or so seasons of his career.
I would say he's HOF worthy, he did everything and was a great player when safety play became less important with the new rules.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 1:01pm

Polamalu's splits against New England are pretty similar to Reed's, but with a better W-L record.


by RickD :: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 1:39am

Those are regular season W-L records. Ed Reed's Ravens beat the Pats in the playoffs twice. Polamalu's Steelers never did.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Fri, 07/06/2018 - 8:10pm

Wow, I would, um, completely disagree with that.

Polamalu was great and imo clearly better than Reed. I'd strongly disagree with the idea that good teams ate him alive. He dominated the 2005 playoff game against the Colts. Manning just didn't know what to do with him.

On a more macro level, FO showed a while ago that the Steelers defensive DVOA was *way* worse when Polamalu was injured vs when he was healthy, while Baltimore's defensive DVOA was unaffected by Reed's absence.

by bachslunch :: Sun, 07/22/2018 - 9:00am

No chance on the HoF for Kam Chancellor. A profile of 0/4/none and a short career will be a non-starter. Earl Thomas (5/7/10s?) should be a lock, and Richard Sherman (4/4/10s?) probably makes it in as well. But no way on Chancellor, especially given how little respect safeties get from the HoF as it is.

by Pen :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 12:01pm

I would think his definitive play was when he knocked Vernon Davis soul clean out of his body.

by theslothook :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 1:12pm

One of my favorite players even though I wasn't a Seahawks fan. I think he will be historically under-appreciated and was wrongly mislabeled as a box safety. He was not. He had range and athleticism to hold his own in the box while covering tight ends and running backs. One of the very very few capable of holding his own against a healthy Gronk.

Hall of famer? Consider I've seen some borderline cases get in, I wouldn't be upset if he did. His case is a bit like Reggie Wayne in many ways.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 2:58pm

I'm not upset when anyone gets in, but Reggie Wayne started nearly 200 games. No, the HOF should not be just for compilers, but longevity has real, discernible value. I would not compare these two players.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 07/03/2018 - 11:13pm

I'm upset about Jerry Jones getting in

by Will Allen :: Wed, 07/04/2018 - 8:05am

Modified to state that I'm not upset about any player getting in. The selection of Jones and DeBartolo have about ruined the HOF for me.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 5:55pm

Most importantly, thank goodness he got to his 3rd contract. Do guys forced to retire due to injury have to give back part of their signing bonuses? If so, ugh!

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 9:55pm

If you read his statement carefully, he never uses the word "retire" and makes it clear that he would still play if he was medically cleared. Basically, if you are injured and can't play, you get your money; if you can play but choose to walk away, you don't, and might even have to give some back.

by Roadspike :: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 6:02pm

I would say that this is his defining play, actually: blowing up a pulling Eric Winston and making a tackle on Andre Ellington for a loss or no gain.