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Dan Quinn would love to see Kam Chancellor become a coach: ‘He has a gift’ for leadership and connection

Falcons HC Dan Quinn was Seattle's defensive coordinator from 2013-2014. (AP)

When Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor appeared to announce his retirement Sunday, he was met with a wave of support and appreciation from current and former teammates. But some of the highest praise came from a surprising source: former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

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Quinn, now the head coach for the Atlanta Falcons, told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore he believes he’s in his current position because of players like Chancellor, and he hopes Chancellor’s special ability to connect with people will lead to a career in coaching for the four-time Pro Bowler.

“For a lot of the players he was like the big brother,” said Quinn, who was the defensive coordinator for Seattle in 2013 and 2014. “Sometimes (it was like), ‘Hey man you better not keep talking that way I’m gonna get my big brother.’ But at other times, he had some wisdom to put down to the younger guys who were up-and-coming. Or a guy who was (his age). He didn’t mind having the uncomfortable conversation. And not a lot of players can do that and still come off in a genuine and caring way.

“That’s why if I could tell you what an impact he had (off the field), I would still be coming up short.”

Quinn said it’s because of Chancellor’s unique ability to both inspire and have tough conversations that he hopes he’ll consider a career in coaching – though he knows Chancellor will succeed in any field.

“You know what, I know whatever he will I’m hopeful that it involves a leadership role,” Quinn said. “Whether that’s running his own business, if that involves coaching one day – which I think he would be excellent at – whatever it is, my hope is that he has a chance to impact people. Because that is one of his most amazing gifts, the connection he has with others. When you’re in his presence, you really feel special. That’s a gift that he has and (I hope) he’s able to share that. Whether it’s in business or in coaching, whatever it is, he’s going to be outstanding.”

Already Chancellor has had an impact on other players – in some cases, without even being in the room. Quinn said Chancellor’s success at his particular build and skill set influenced Atlanta’s selection of safety Keanu Neal in 2016. And because of Chancellor’s unique combination of strength, size, and athleticism, Quinn has used clips of Chancellor’s play while teaching with technique video.

“A lot of times when you’re making teaching technique tapes, oftentimes you’ll choose a linebacker to show how to set an edge on a pulling guard or a tight end or a fullback. On more than one occasion, we used (Chancellor) as the example of how you go set an edge … in those teachings, he showed up all over the place; from tackling to edge-setting, to the physicality that you want to play with, to man-to-man coverage, he showed up all over the tape.”

The Seahawks made back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in Quinn’s two years as defensive coordinator, capturing a win in Super Bowl XLVIII. Quinn assumed the head coaching for Atlanta in 2015. The team finished 8-8 in his first year, but have won at least 10 games a season since then and made a trip to Super Bowl LI in 2016.

“It’s men like Pete (Carroll) and players like Kam that afforded me this opportunity that I have,” Quinn said. “So my gratitude and respect for those two, among others, in the Seahawks organization … is as high as it can go.”

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