Kam Chancellor’s training camp holdout has reached its fourth day, at a potential maximum cost of $120,000 in team fines as the Seahawks take the field for another practice here in Renton.
I asked Richard Sherman how much lobbying he’s been doing to Chancellor to get the thumping strong safety into camp.
"No lobbying,” the All-Pro cornerback said. “I think he’s taking a stand and I support him in whatever he is doing. He’s like a brother to me, as well. Whenever you take a stand like this you don’t get a lot of support from the fans because the fans feel like, you know, about honoring contracts. But we understand it’s a business. We understand the things that he goes through week in and week out and the trauma that he puts his body through and the sacrifice that he made. The Super Bowl is a great example of the sacrifice that he made.
“You know, he has an 80 percent torn MCL and is out there playing (in Super Bowl 49). And he’s not playing for contract or playing for money. He’s playing more for the guys next to him than anything. So I think when a guy does like that and shows his teammates that kind of sacrifice and that kind of will and dedication, you’re not angry when he’s doing things like this. You got to support him."
Saturday I wrote how Chancellor’s holdout is an example of the dominant mentality among NFL players to get theirs when they can, because nothing in this league is guarateed. Not roster spots, not money -- definitely not Major League Baseball or pro basketball.
Sherman -- who signed a $56 million contract extension before last season -- feels that.
“It’s always in our sport, because tomorrow is never promised. It’s a 100-percent injury rate, as they say so eloquently time after time,” Sherman said. “But that’s what you play for. Guys play to win. We obviously play to win. But the compensation is just something that comes with it. Guys appreciate the compensation. Guys appreciate being taken care of, but there’s always more. Kam’s making 4.5 this year. We can go down the list of guys getting paid more than Kam Chancellor this year who are not better than Kam Chancellor in any way, shape, or form. But that’s unfortunate so hopefully they can come together on some number and make it happen."
Sherman said though it’s just the first week of training camp, the Seahawks miss Chancellor. DeShawn Shead has been playing first-string strong safety in his absence.
"I think just missing his leadership and his voice more than anything,” he said. “You know obviously, next-man-up mentality is always adopted here. That’s what we stand for. But he is an incredible voice in the locker room, obviously. One of the captains of this team. His voice more than anything is missed."
Here’s the transcript of more of what Sherman said yesterday, including as the team’s union representative what the NFL Players’ Association feels about teammate Russell Okung representing himself (without an agent) in his next contract negotiations:
(On how many core players are under contract for multiple years to come) "I think we’ve always felt that way. I think we’ve always felt like we have the potential to be great for a long time and we knew that John [Schneider] and Pete[Carroll], they deal with salary cap issues and money issues, but they figure out a way to keep us all signed. I think that guys want to be here. You hear all the time that guys from other places would like to be here and how they think Pete is a great coach. But I think the guys that are here are friends. They are friends that treat each other like family. So it’s not like guys want to be in other places. They would like to be here at all costs. Sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes guys, you know you only got so much money. I think if it was like baseball we’d have quite a team. I think Pete and John are doing a great job keeping guys together and keeping guys happy. So we’re happy where we’re at."
(On the young safeties) "I’ve seen discipline. I’ve seen disciplined football. They’re very sound football players. They’re exactly where they need to be when they need to be there. They’re assignment sound. They understand the concepts, they understand the verbiage of the defense, they understand how to communicate. That’s huge. That’s huge in this defense. Obviously Kam, Earl and myself have played together for going on five years now. There’s a different kind of understanding you know when you look at him. Non-verbal communication we have with the chemistry. But these guys have stepped right in and done an admirable job. Obviously the physicality that comes with camp, it’s pretty tough to match. But I think Shead has done a great job of filling in and being assignment sound. That’s all you can ask."
(On how Sherman’s opinion of Cary Williams has changed) "Not much. He’s a good teammate. He’s an understanding guy. He’s caring, a family-oriented man. But he works hard. I had heard that coming in and my opinion hasn’t changed. He does work before and after we come in here. He does the extra to make sure his body is ready. I think he’s going to be a great asset for us this year."
(On Earl Thomas) "Can I imagine Earl Thomas not playing a real game? I cannot. And that’s not because I’ve played with him so long. I just know him as a person. I know what kind of competitor he is. I know what kind of drive he has inside of him. If something changes, you know things change. But that’d be a pretty crazy idea, in my opinion. He just has an itch about him, to play this game. He hasn’t missed a game since he’s been here, has he? He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t like things to change."
(On Thomas not being able to practice) "Injuries are hard on everybody. It challenges you both mentally and physically. I think it has been difficult for him. He wants to be out here more than anybody. He wants to be here contributing, getting better, working on his technique, working on his craft. He says he wants to be the master of his craft and you’ve seen it every day when he comes out here to work. I think that the rehab process is just strenuous. It’s just not ball. It’s not football. You’re not going out there making tackles, punching that ball, sitting in the hood making plays on the football. You’re running, you’re rehabbing, and you’re lifting weights trying to get stronger. It’s tough on you. It’s tough not being out there with your guys. It’s something you can’t explain unless you play the game."
(On young guys getting big contract extensions) "I am. Like I said, we have great trust in John and Pete and what they’ve done. Their track record speaks for itself. I think it’s surprising other people how many of us are getting paid. Every time you look up somebody is saying, ‘How are they going to pay this guy,’ and you look up and they’re paid. Then they say, ‘How are they going to pay this guy, this guy has to go.’ You know Pete and John are phenomenal front office people. Even our salary cap guys, [Matt] Thomas, there is a bunch of guys up there do a great job figuring things out and I think as long as the salary cap keeps going up we’ll have a chance to keep a lot of guys."
(On Russell Okung taking his contract negotiations into his own hands) "We’ve had a few conversations. The PA supports any player’s decision like that. Obviously if he’s going to do that the PA has things in place that will help him. Even in agent-team negotiations the PA is involved to a degree. Obviously they’re not sitting in there with every, ‘Oh you’re moving this number up or this number down,’ but at the end of the day it has to pass through the PA to get approved just like it has to pass through the league. I think the PA will continue to be involved if a player like Russell Okung wants to negotiate his own deal. They’ll make sure he’s not getting a bad deal, everything is legally correct on the deal, there’s no back hand or funny language, which there rarely is in this league. The PA is always involved and they will be with his negotiations."