Seattle's Chancellor hopes to avoid reputation
RENTON, Wash. (AP)
Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor says he isn't worried that he will develop a reputation as a headhunter.
Yet, after his second straight week of picking up a personal foul for a hit against a defenseless receiver, the league may already be taking notice.
Chancellor was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin two weeks ago. Last week against the St. Louis Rams, Chancellor was flagged again for the same penalty, this time for hitting St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks. Chancellor wouldn't confirm Wednesday whether he'd been fined for the second hit, but acknowledged he had heard from the league and plans to appeal.
Kendricks was falling to the ground while trying to haul in a pass when Chancellor collided with him. Chancellor appeared to lead with his shoulder but still hit Kendricks' helmet.
''I just turned my head to the side like they asked me to do from the previous week and tried to do it with my shoulder, and when he fell down his head just went into my shoulder,'' Chancellor said. ''That's the call that they were looking for to call so that's what happened.''
It's a problem faced by defensive players around the league as new rules put the emphasis on protecting defenseless receivers: Do you take the risk of getting fined by the league or let up and maybe allow a big play for the opposing team?
Chancellor already faced that dilemma once this season. In the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks tight end Anthony McCoy was hit across the middle by 49ers defensive back Madieu Williams, who drew a personal foul. On the 49ers' next drive, Chancellor had a chance to hit wide receiver Josh Morgan and noticeably let up before applying the hit. Morgan made the play and hauled in a 26-yard catch during what became a scoring drive for San Francisco.
''The intent of the rule changes, I totally stand behind and for it,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''We don't want anybody to get hurt ever. But the practicality of it, it's not as easy as people might think when you're in a competitive mode and it's everything you can do to get to make the play you're supposed to make.''
The play against Kendricks happened quickly. Chancellor connected with Kendricks mere moments after the ball reached his hands. If Chancellor hadn't gone after Kendricks as quickly, the Rams could have hit a big play downfield.
Chancellor has emerged as a force in the Seahawks' secondary in his first season as a starter. He had to bide his time his rookie season while sitting behind veteran Lawyer Milloy. Seattle chose not to bring Milloy back this season and Chancellor was given his chance. He's started all 10 games for Seattle and has 56 tackles and three interceptions.
''He loves the game, he wants to be great, practices so hard, cares so much, as well as having all of the physical tools to go along with it, and he's a really tough-minded person and it shows in his play,'' Carroll said.
Chancellor said the fines aren't going to change his approach to the game.
''They ask me to compete and they tell me stay in the middle of the field and protect the middle so I'm going to compete like I know how to, hit as correct as they want me to and play the game like I know how to,'' he said.