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Once the NFL's top-paid strong safety, Kam Chancellor is entering the last year of his deal. (AP)
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Seahawks notebook: Defense almost whole again as minicamp begins

RENTON – Kam Chancellor began his offseason in a wheelchair.

The Seahawks’ eighth-year strong safety needed surgery to clean up bone spurs in each of his ankles, which for the last two seasons had caused him pain every time he would cut, squat into his pre-snap position or make a tackle. He addressed the issue with separate surgeries earlier in his career but decided to take care of them simultaneously this time. Hence the wheelchair, which he was confined to for over a week.

Chancellor called it “very humbling” not being able to do what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it. He said it’s something he hopes to never have to go through again.

“I had the procedure before and I did it one at a time, and I just didn’t want to go back under the knife again,” Chancellor said, “so I just did it all at the same time and just dealt with the pain for a week. And I’m here now.”

Now pain-free, Chancellor was a full participant in the team’s final practice of Organized Team Activities last Friday and again on Tuesday, when Seattle began a three-day minicamp with its defense mostly intact.

Chancellor was joined in Seattle’s secondary by fellow safety Earl Thomas, who was in and out of practice during OTAs. Thomas estimated Tuesday that he’s 80 percent recovered from his broken leg but said confidently that he’ll be ready for Week 1.

Thomas said he feared broken leg would end his career

Defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril were back as well. They skipped the voluntary OTA practices, at least the three that were open to the media, but reported for mandatory minicamp as expected.

The only potential starter not practicing Tuesday was Michael Wilhoite, one of the three linebackers Seattle signed in free agency this offseason. A candidate to replace Mike Morgan as the starter on the strong side, Wilhoite has been sidelined with what coach Pete Carroll called a quad injury. Terence Garvin, another free-agent pickup, was working in his place on Tuesday.

Carroll revealed that defensive end Dion Jordan has been absent while recovering from recent knee surgery, which he needed in order to clean up a procedure he had before Seattle have him a one-year, low-risk deal in free agency. That Jordan has hardly practiced does not bode well for his chances of making the team, which was already an uncertainty.

“We were fixing what had happened before,” Carroll said. “He didn’t get hurt here. He came to us needing a cleanup on his knee. He didn’t know that at the time. We uncovered it and then we’ve gone to work at it. He’s done everything he’s supposed to do and done a good job, but he hasn’t been able to get on the field yet. … He’s made really good progress and noticeably feels better. You can tell that the discomfort and the irritation is out. So that’s a really good sign. We’ll see how far he can come and how soon he can come back.”

Notes

• Carroll said the Seahwks would “very much like to work something out” contract-wise with Chancellor, who’s entering the final year of his deal. It wasn’t clear where things stand in their negotiations, or if the two sides have even started negotiating, but a comment from Chancellor suggested that nothing is imminent.

• I wrote last week about how Austin Davis doesn’t seem to have nearly the arm strength of Trevone Boykin, the quarterback he was brought into compete with to be Russell Wilson’s backup. I noticed that after Brock Huard’s observation that Davis appears to be, in his words, “pretty physically average.” Carroll’s comment about Davis on Tuesday should further temper expectations: “We know that he’s played some good football in the past against us and we really liked him when we met him. We’re taking a look at him to see how he fits in. That’s what’s going on right now.”

• Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was absent Tuesday. Carroll said his wife is giving birth.