By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Kam Chancellor entered the NFL through the back door, a fifth-round pick chosen on the draft’s final day in 2010.
He sat centerstage on Monday in the Seahawks auditorium, wearing a three-piece suit and a multi-million dollar smile after signing a four-year extension with the Seahawks.
“So many words, man,” Chancellor said. “I just feel good right now. They told me at the end of last season that they were going to take care of me because they knew I was a core guy that works hard all the time, led by example. I just feel blessed right now. I feel like I’m in a good situation, a good spot.”
Chancellor became a starter his second year, was named to the Pro Bowl as an injury alternate and just turned 25 earlier this month. At 232 pounds, he is big enough some wondered if he could play safety in the NFL, but in Seattle he established himself as a clean-up hitter over the middle.
“You’re talking about one of the most intimidating players in the National Football League,” said John Schneider, Seattle’s general manager.
And for all the additions Seattle has made this offseason, from trading for receiver Percy Harvin to signing defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency, signing Chancellor to an extension was a clear-cut priority.
“Anything that happened other than being able to sign Kam was going to be a bonus for us,” Schneider said.
Chancellor had one year remaining on his rookie contract, and was scheduled to make $1.3 million in salary in 2013 according to the players association records. The extension will add four years and $28 million to that total, $17 million of which is guaranteed.
“I’ve really appreciated this moment,” Chancellor said. “I think I deserve this moment. I think I worked hard for this moment. I didn’t think it was given to me. I think I really worked hard for this moment.”
Chancellor was the first of Seattle’s young defensive players to be in position for an extension.
Safety Earl Thomas still has two seasons left on his contract while left tackle Russell Okung has three years.
Because cornerback Richard Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson were signed under the league’s new collective-bargaining agreement, Seattle can’t offer either a contract extension until after they’ve completed three seasons in the league. That means Sherman is eligible for an extension in 2014, and Wilson the year after that.
Chancellor is the first step toward retaining and rewarding this nucleus of players the Seahawks began assembling under Schneider and coach Pete Carroll in 2010.
“He has been a tremendous factor for our football team as we’ve grown,” Carroll said of Chancellor. “We’re still a young team, but as we grow, he has been a great leader for us. We have many excellent leaders. He has been a great one for us. Not just on the field, but off the field and everything that he does. He stands for exactly what we love to support and reward.”