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Huard: Kam Chancellor ‘set the tone’ for Seahawks’ historic defense

Kam Chancellor spent his entire eight-year career with the Seahawks. (AP)

Just five years ago, the Seattle Seahawks weren’t just sitting atop the NFL – they were redefining the blueprint of what makes a winning team. And according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard, the now essentially-retired Kam Chancellor was the player who, perhaps more than any other, set the tone for Seattle’s record-setting defense.

O’Neil: Seahawks lose unique leader with Chancellor ‘walking away’

“The Seahawks changed the conversation,” Huard said. “It was an offensive league, you’ve got to play offense, you’ve got to score all these points, you’ve got to do all this. And Seattle said, ‘Nope, we’re going to be the best defense in the history of this league.’ That was the legacy they wanted … and they had a run there of about four years where they were the top-scoring defense. It matched the Cleveland Browns of the 1950s. You had to go back that far to look at what they did to this league. And without Kam in the middle of all of that, I don’t think they could have done it.”

The 30-year-old Chancellor appeared to announce his retirement Sunday after playing eight seasons in the NFL, all with Seattle. Chancellor published his own statement via Twitter, announcing a final test on a neck injury he sustained last season showed no sign of healing, and he could risk paralysis by returning to the field.

“God has given me a sign that I just can’t ignore,” Chancellor wrote. “To walk away from the game by choice is one thing, to walk away from the game because of the risk of paralysis is another.”

Chancellor’s greatest legacy may be changing how teams look at safety

Chancellor was an integral part of Seattle’s famed Legion of Boom – a hard-hitting and dominant secondary headed by cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and safeties Chancellor and Earl Thomas. The unit helped make the Seahawks the top-scoring defense for four consecutive seasons.

“You can maybe say the same thing about Earl or about Sherm,” Huard said. “But as far as just being the alpha – the guy who, when push came to shove and there was a debate that had to be settled, or when there was a fight that had to be stopped – it was Kam Chancellor. And Pete (Carroll) would’ve said it to us a hundred different times: he was the the guy that just set the tone for the whole locker room.”

Because of that role, Huard believes Chancellor should be the next Seahawk inducted into their Ring of Honor. It’s a prestigious group that includes Hall of Famers Kenny Easley, Walter Jones, Cortez Kennedy, and Steve Largent, former Seahawks greats Dave Brown, Jacob Green, Dave Krieg, Curt Warner and Jim Zorn, former head coach Chuck Knox, and the original “Voice of the Seahawks” Pete Gross.

“I don’t know if Kam will be a Hall of Famer with eight years in the bank,” Huard said. “Kenny Easley was. The game was taken from Kenny too early; he couldn’t play it for 10, 12, 15 years because of some of the physical ailments and injuries. That’s much like Kam now, who is going to have to retire after eight years because of the spinal cord injury and the risk of paralysis. Well, he moves on and he leaves quite a legacy. It’s my opinion that he should be the next one in the Ring of Honor. When this vintage group of Seahawks players is considered – be it the Matt Hasselbecks and the Shaun Alexanders and the Richard Shermans and all the rest of them – I would like to see Kam be the first, because I think he was the alpha of all the alpha males on this team…

“As far as what that team, what a coach, what an organization wants: it wants its best players to be like Kam Chancellor.”

Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor walks away: 710 ESPN Seattle reacts