It looks as if Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor’s career on the gridiron is over due to the neck injury he suffered last season against the Arizona Cardinals. He never explicitly used the word “retire” but the gist of the statement is that it’s far too dangerous for him to ever suit up and play football again. Obviously you wish all the best healthwise for Kam as he enters what he calls, “the next chapter.”
Chancellor was drafted in the 5th round back in 2010, but didn’t see regular playing time until 2011, as the Legion of Boom slowly took shape alongside Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, and Earl Thomas. Kam’s freak athleticism, raw power, bone-crushing hits, and terrifying strength made him one of the most popular and entertaining players to watch in the NFL, regardless of position. He was the team’s leader and an absolute force in the secondary.
There are so many highlight-reel moments from Chancellor’s career that it feels unjust to only pick five of them, but I do think these five represent both Chancellor as a player and the Legion of Boom as a whole throughout their existence. Let’s have a happy trip down memory lane right now.
#5 - Eric Winston never had a chance (Week 7, 2013 season)
Eric Winston is listed at 6’7” and 302 lbs. Usually an offensive lineman doesn’t get obliterated trying to block someone from the defensive backfield, but Kam Chancellor is no ordinary safety, and he’s no ordinary athlete. Chancellor casually bulldozed Winston as if he was a Monster Truck going up against a Hot Wheels car, then tackled Andre Ellington after he disposed of Winston’s dignity.
#4 - Kam shuts down Cam (NFC Divisional Round, 2014 season)
Chancellor went viral after leaping over the Carolina Panthers field goal unit not once, but TWICE to try and block Graham Gano’s field goal attempt. The first jump was on a false start, then the second one was a penalty for running into the kicker, as Kam somehow didn’t make contact with the football. As awesome as that was, Daren Bates of the St. Louis Rams did this exact same move earlier in the season, and got the block, so I’ve excluded that sequence from the list.
What DOES count, on a night when Chancellor was dominant and led the team with nine tackles, is the first and only touchdown of Kam’s career. Down 24-10, Cam Newton drove the Panthers deep into Seattle territory, hoping to rally his team back and stun the defending Super Bowl champs.
Cam thought he had Ed Dickson for a 1st and goal. Kam had other ideas. The best part? Marshawn Lynch’s “solidarity” crotch grab celebration.
#3 - Denying Megatron at the goal line (Week 3, 2015 season)
In his second game back from his holdout, Chancellor made one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen live. Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions are on the verge of taking the lead on Monday Night Football, potentially sending the Seahawks to 1-3. Chancellor made like Superman and saved the day, punching the ball free from Megatron’s grasp, the goal line just inches away. K.J. Wright illegally batted the ball out of the end zone, as if you care at this point about that controversy, and the Seahawks hung on. The storyline of Kam making that play at that moment against a possible Hall-of-Famer is just too good to be true.
#2 - Demaryius Thomas gets blasted in the Super Bowl (2013 season)
Peyton Manning’s first pass of Super Bowl XLVIII was a short crosser to Demaryius Thomas, the #1 wide receiver from a record-setting offense. The Broncos ranked #1 in yards after the catch, but Chancellor made sure that Thomas’ YAC would only be in a backwards direction. Officially, this is a two-yard gain due to forward progress. The force of Kam’s hit unofficially knocked him halfway towards the Pacific Ocean. You often hear the phrase “set the tone” uttered for big sports moments early in games, and this really summed up how Denver’s day on offense would go.
Malcolm Smith won MVP mostly through opportunism and the timing of his interception return for a touchdown. Kam Chancellor was arguably the real MVP of this game.
#1 - Here comes the BOOM! (Week 16, 2012 season)
The Seahawks were on a hot streak, having beaten the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills by a combined 108-17. Being on Sunday Night Football against the eventual NFC champion San Francisco 49ers signified Seattle’s arrival on the big stage. I don’t really care that Chancellor was flagged for this mid-air destruction of Vernon Davis. It actually proved to be a good thing, as it set up Richard Sherman’s blocked field goal for a touchdown just a few plays layer. There are few things on this planet more terrifying and hazardous to your health than Kam Chancellor coming full speed at you like a runaway freight train.
Thanks for everything, Kam. It’s been a blast, it’s just unfortunate it had to end this way.