Kam Chancellor’s training-camp holdout is now 10 days old.
And it has two truths.
If he stays true to his popular, unyielding character, the Seattle Seahawks’ thudding strong safety is apt to continue wanting more than the $4.55 million he’s scheduled to earn this season.
And the team leader seems destined to stay dug in for a while.
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The Seahawks currently don’t have much more to give Chancellor for this year. Seattle has nearly $4.9 million left under this year’s NFL salary cap, according to overthecap.com. That’s 29th in available funds within the 32-team league. And there are no indications the team is prepared to cut a veteran starter or ask one to renegotiate a 2015 salary to create more cap space.
So as they prepare for Friday’s first exhibition game against Denver, at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks are moving on.
How much longer will they do it without Chancellor?
“I don’t know the parameters,” coach Pete Carroll said before the players took Sunday off from practice. “I know overall we are working to make sure we stay connected.”
That includes Chancellor having access to the team’s films of each training-camp practice. His fill-in starter for now, DeShawn Shead, said over the weekend that Chancellor is reviewing those films and texting him pointers.
“He’s still tuned in to everything,” Shead said, “he is still very active.”
Chancellor’s fines for holding out could exceed $480,000 — if the Seahawks choose to sanction him to the maximum under the collective bargaining agreement. Asked if he was surprised, given that hefty amount and how committed Chancellor is to a team he’s not even with right now, Carroll shook his head. The coach reminded everyone about how dedicated the 27-year-old is to his causes — including, as is evident now, his financial ones.
“No,” Carroll said, “because he’s very strong-minded. He’s wanted to make a very clear statement.
“I know he’s staying connected to everything that we’re doing. He’s the ultimate competitor; he’s not very far away from us. But there’s still stuff to be talked out.”
Carroll said he hasn’t talked to Chancellor recently.
“No, just messaging,” Carroll said. “When I talked to him, it seemed like it was three weeks ago, not five days ago.”
On Friday, the Seahawks will play the first of four preseason games.
Well, most of them will.
Marshawn Lynch was in his usual August mode on Saturday. He watched the scrimmage wearing sweats, his jersey and a grin.
“He’ll come back real strong (this) week. So he can probably play about 30 or 40 plays in the opener,” Carroll said.
Then the coach looked around, tried to keep a straight face and finally deadpanned: “That isn’t happening.”
Against the Broncos on Friday, expect a lot of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael. Turbin, who had offseason surgery on both hips, was the leading rusher in Saturday’s scrimmage and scored a touchdown.
Michael, who also scored Saturday, but with the second-team offense, is entering his third season. Coaches say they are waiting to see consistency and dedication from him through an entire season.
Drew Nowak may end up starting or at least playing with the first-string offense at center, if the last few practices and Saturday’s scrimmage are any indication. Carroll and line coach Tom Cable are giving a long look to the 2014 practice-squad guard, a defensive lineman at Western Michigan four years ago.
But last week Carroll said that if the team had to play then, veteran Lemuel Jeanpierre would be the center. Jeanpierre was Max Unger’s backup for five seasons, until Seattle traded Unger to New Orleans in March to get tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham and quarterback Russell Wilson may play more than the one series that the starting quarterback and receivers usually get in an exhibition opener. That would be to capitalize on what Wilson and Graham say is an outstanding camaraderie the two have already in camp.
“The chemistry has been more than I could ever imagine,” said Graham, the NFL’s most prolific receiver at tight end for the last few seasons. “For example, (Saturday) in the scrimmage we had one we didn’t connect (an interception by Wilson on an outside route to end the first drive). So after practice we did it about four or five times. And that is how we are going to do it each and every day. Anything we’re iffy about, we’re going to get it after practice.
“The season is right here. And when those big moments come, I want that connection to be right.”
DT Jordan Hill’s return from a calf injury, which cost him all of the playoffs in January through the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, has included him getting more of the snaps at nose tackle than veteran starter Brandon Mebane in the last few practices. “He’s a very active player,” Carroll said of Hill. “He really stays on the move all the time; he’s got a really good motor about him. There (have been) available rushes and he (has been) able to take advantage of it, so he looks good. He’s having a great camp.” … Douglas McNeil has excelled at each position he’s played so far in camp. The 2014 free agent from Bowie State, outside of Baltimore, was impressive at wide receiver. The last two practices, while at cornerback for the first time, he’s been step for step with Saturday scrimmage standout Kasen Williams, second-year WR Kevin Norwood and others. “He was doing fine at receiver, but he’s 6-3, he’s really long, he’s really fast, and he’s got a real motor about him,” Carroll said of McNeil. “He’s a real aggressive kid, so I asked him to go ahead and take a look at (cornerback), and see if we can put him on that side of the ball and see what would happen. He’s a little bit taller than Sherm (Richard Sherman), he’s a little bit longer than Sherm, he’s about the same speed. Sherm is taking him under his wing and trying to help him as fast as he can to bring him along. I can’t tell you how far he’s come. I don’t know that; it’s just the first couple days. But I’m really anxious to see the film (Saturday) because he probably got about 25 to 30 plays out there.” … Carroll said TE Cooper Helfet has a cracked rib. That’s why the third tight end missed Saturday’s scrimmage. His status for Friday is unknown.