Kam Chancellor has channeled Mars Blackmon to manage ankle pain and avoid surgery.
You remember Mars: “Money! It’s got to be the shoes!”
Chancellor, the Seattle Seahawks’ thudding safety, said a change from the low-cut shoes he’d worn for years to higher-top, mid-cut cleats is what likely has saved him from double-ankle surgery to repair painful bone spurs. That, plus new inserts into the soles of those new shoes.
So it’s like Spike Lee’s old Nike television commercials with Michael Jordan to say Chancellor’s new shoes have saved much of his 2014 season for Seattle. For now at least.
“It’s the shoes,” Chancellor said after another pain-free practice. “The shoes, the soles, the inserts … It must be the high tops, man. Because I was playing in low tops before. Now I switched to the more mid tops. It’s more support. They’ve given me better support on the ankles.
“No concerns at all.”
Coach Pete Carroll said last week Chancellor’s ankles were “on fire” during the Seahawks’ loss at San Diego on Sept. 14. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates beat Chancellor and other Seahawks on routes downfield and for three touchdowns that steamy day.
Chancellor has bone spurs in his ankles, a condition for which he already has had surgery — in January 2013 after his third NFL season with the Seahawks.
“It started that Tuesday before that (Chargers) game, they started hurting a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t want to talk about it because I’m not a guy who complains about pain. I went along with it, thought it would be OK by the time game time came around. It wasn’t, unfortunately.
“Of course it was stressful playing like that. But it’s something that goes along with football. Some of the best play through pain, play with pain, get beat with pain — and beat people with pain. That’s just part of football.”
Chancellor said that after a day off from practice the Wednesday before the Sept. 21 game against Denver he tested the ankles in his new shoes on the turf at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. He was relieved if not shocked on that Thursday to be pain free.
He’s had the spurs since he was playing at Virginia Tech through the fall of 2009, though he said it didn’t begin paining him until the 2012 season.
Chancellor had hip surgery this past offseason. He confirmed as true a Fox Sports report from last week that he was indeed considering another surgery two weeks ago to remove the ankle spurs before the shoes cured his pain and allowed him to star against the Broncos.
He forced a Denver fumble on that game’s first play. He nearly intercepted Peyton Manning when he jumped a route. Then he did pick off Manning late in the fourth quarter with a leaping play and 52-yard return.
He became the NFC defensive player of the week – on pained ankles.
Those must be great shoes.
“We found some ways to get around it. We found better comfort,” Chancellor said of the bone spurs.
“No concerns at all.”
Nor from Carroll.
“It was an issue a couple of weeks ago. It mounted up in San Diego. He made it back and did a really good job last week, played great football,” Carroll said.
“He looked fine (to begin this practice week), so we might have put that one behind us.”
This doesn’t mean the pain is gone, just that the debilitating intensity of it appears to be for one of the key members of Seattle’s defense. Chancellor has rarely played without pain during any of his five seasons with the Seahawks (2-1). His violent hitting often leaves a toll on him as well as his targets.
Asked if the ankles remain an issue he will have to “manage” and play through the rest of this season, starting Monday night at Washington (1-3), Chancellor said: “Of course. I manage everything during the season. The way I play, I have to manage my whole body, anyway. It’s just managing, getting early treatments in the mornings, getting my massages. It’s everything.”
Because 6-foot-5, 255-pound Zach Miller just had surgery last week for bone spurs in his ankles, the 6-3, 232-pound Chancellor was asked if he didn’t have an extra pair of his magic shoes to share with the starting tight end who is now out for at least a few games.
He laughed at that.
“No, that’s two different physiques,” Chancellor said. “I don’t know if he can support all that weight on the shoes I’ve got. He’s a big guy.
“He’s definitely being taken care of. He’ll be back soon.”
The players were off from practice Wednesday, which the team treated like a usual Tuesday. With the Monday night game coming up, the Seahawks are pushing their normal practice routine back by one day. They have workouts Thursday through Saturday in Renton then fly to D.C. on Saturday afternoon. … The Seahawks are 10-1 in prime-time games under Carroll. The only loss: Oct. 18, 2012, 13-6 at San Francisco on a Thursday night. … This was Redskins LT Trent Williams this week on the Seahawks, to the Washington Post: “Can we beat them? Yeah. At the end of the day, they’re not robots. They’re human beings, and nobody’s perfect. Nobody plays perfect every Sunday. They have been beaten before. It’s not like they’re unstoppable. They’re a great team, no doubt about it. But anything is possible in the NFL.” Williams and Seattle CB Richard Sherman got into it in the center of FedEx Field two seasons ago following the Seahawks’ win at Washington in the NFC playoffs. Williams shoved Sherman in the face while Sherman kept yapping at him. … The Seahawks announced CenturyLink Field’s arches will be lighted pink each Wednesday and Thursday night in October during national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.