RENTON – Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor faces a dilemma every time he sizes up a receiver for a big hit when he crosses the middle of the field.
Deliver a blow, and he’ll likely be writing another hefty check to the league for a personal-foul penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Let the receiver catch it and tackle him for a big gain, and he passes on an important opportunity to send a message that receivers can’t catch the ball in the middle of Seattle’s physical secondary without paying a price.
The second-year pro out of Virginia Tech was called for a personal foul for a helmet-to-helmet hit Sunday on St. Louis tight end Lance Kendricks. It was Chancellor’s second such penalty in two weeks.
Chancellor appeared to move his head and deliver a blow with his shoulder, which is the way the league wants defensive players to hit what it considers helpless receivers in a vulnerable position.
However, Kendricks ducked his head before the moment of impact to adjust to a low pass from quarterback Sam Bradford – ducking right into the path of Chancellor’s shoulder pads.
Chancellor’s hit achieved the desired affect – Kendrick dropped the ball. Kendrick remained on the ground for several minutes as St. Louis trainers tended to him.
Chancellor told reporters after practice on Wednesday that he was fined by the league for the play.
“I was kind of mad,” Chancellor said when asked about his reaction to the penalty. “Because, I mean, it’s my second one back-to-back. I mean none of it is intentionally trying to hit a guy in the helmet.”
Chancellor said on the hit against Kendricks he worked to get his head out of the way, but the receiver went down to get the ball, changing his aiming point.
“Being a tall DB like I am, I was aiming for the guy’s chest,” Chancellor said. “While he was falling on the way down, I turned my head to the side like they asked me to do from the previous week and led with my shoulder. And when he fell down, his head went into my shoulder, and that’s the call. And they were looking for that call, so that’s what happened.”
Chancellor would not divulge how much he was fined but said he would appeal both fines.
In the previous game, Chancellor was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Baltimore receiver Anquan Boldin, which resulted in a concussion for Chancellor. The league fined Chancellor $20,000.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll has been quick to emphasize that Chancellor is not a dirty player and that Seattle’s coaching staff is not teaching him to play outside the rules.
“Everyone knows what the rules are, and everybody knows what the ramifications are,” Carroll said. “It doesn’t fit the game to do this, and so we’re trying to learn how to fit a new way to play and guys are making errors in that regard.
“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. You’ve got to get there as soon as you can ,and when you’re accelerating, you’re leaning forward, and the first thing that gets there is your helmet. That’s unfortunate ,but that’s how it goes. So we just have to learn that instinct to try to turn – turn your head away.”
Chancellor has made the successful transition to a starter after watching veteran Lawyer Milloy as a rookie last year. Chancellor leads the team in interceptions with three, has eight pass deflections and is fourth on the team in tackles with 56.
With Chancellor playing next to free safety Earl Thomas, Seattle has one of the more talented young safety tandems in the league.
“He’s just a banger – that’s what he does,” Thomas said. “Unfortunately, that’s the rules that have been set for the game. I don’t think that’s going to change his play any. That’s just his mentality.”
Chancellor – who has been called for four personal fouls for helmet-to-helmet hits this season – agreed.
“They ask me to compete,” Chancellor said. “They tell me to stay in the middle of the field and protect the middle. So I’m going to compete like I know how to. Try to hit it as correctly as they want me to and just play the game like I know how to.”
For Seattle, defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle), cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) and receivers Ben Obomanu (knee/ankle) and Sidney Rice (knee) did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) was a limited participant. Safety Atari Bigby (hamstring) and defensive end Anthony Hargrove (hamstring) were full participants. … For Washington, linebacker London Fletcher (ankle) and receiver Niles Paul (toe) did not practice. Offensive tackle Jammal Brown (groin), safety DeJon Gomes (knee), offensive guard Maurice Hurt (knee), cornerback Josh Wilson (hamstring) and offensive tackles Sean Locklear (ankle) and Trent Williams (knee) were limited participants. Linebacker Keyaron Fox (infection), safety LaRon Landry (Achilles), receiver Santana Moss (hand) and receiver Donte Stallworth (foot) were full participants.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org