Seahawks’ Richard Sherman: ‘It’s everything’ having Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett in camp
RENTON – This marks the first time in three years that the Seahawks have started training camp without the drama of a holdout hanging overhead.
In 2014, running back Marshawn Lynch missed the first week before reporting. Strong safety Kam Chancellor held out through the second week of the regular season last year. And while there was some thought that defensive lineman Michael Bennett might stay away this year in protest of his contract situation, he instead stayed true to his word and showed up.
That has made for a much different feel to the start of this camp, something cornerback Richard Sherman noted following the team’s fourth practice on Tuesday when asked what Chancellor’s presence means for Seattle’s defense.
“It’s everything. It’s everything,” he said. “Kam being here, Mike B being here even with the contract that he’s dealing with, it’s fantastic. That’s why you can see the energy difference from last year, you can see the guys moving different, there’s more chemistry, there’s more unity, there’s more continuity, as you say it.
“Our guys are just ready. Guys are season ready. We could play tomorrow if we had to, at least with the first unit. And that comes from guys just playing together, seeing each other, respecting each other, loving each other, appreciating one another.”
Chancellor spoke on Monday about the increased sense of comradery, saying the vibe this year feels similar to the Seahawks’ 2013 Super Bowl season.
“It feels like everybody bringing that intensity, feels like everybody is out to prove something, which it may be or may not be, it just feels that way,” he said. “The brotherhood, it gets even tighter. Guys are just out here having fun, not thinking about a lot.”
The Seahawks’ secondary was nearly unrecognizable this time last year. Byron Maxwell was gone, having signed with Philadelphia in free agency. Fellow cornerback Jeremy Lane and free safety Earl Thomas were on the sideline, still recovering from their injuries from the previous postseason. And Chancellor was at home, heels dug in as he held out for a new contract.
Thomas and Lane are now healthy. Chancellor is here and Brandon Browner is back, albeit in a different role, which means Seattle’s secondary is as complete as it has been since 2013.
“It was a tough camp because Kam and Earl were both sitting out,” Sherman said of last summer. “It’s just a different feel when all of us aren’t together. Not to say we’re any more valuable than anybody else, but it’s just a different feel when everybody’s out there, and we’re moving and we’re shaking. The energy is different. They’re more enthusiastic. These guys understand and trust one another. When you get younger guys who are unfamiliar with the situations, then you second guess in some situations, like ‘Oh, is he going to be there? Is he not going to be there?’”
Sherman pointed to a play from Tuesday’s practice, presumably the one in which he broke up a deep post route intended for Tyler Lockett.
“I knew exactly where Earl was going to be, Earl knew exactly where I was going to be and it wasn’t a guess, it was knowledge,” he said. “It was years of playing together, years of being in very intense situations and trusting. Those things kind of go away when you’re going with another guy. You try to build that chemistry.”
Chancellor said last year that he ended his holdout because he wanted to be there for his teammates. Bennett’s stated reason for not holding out the last two summers despite his unhappiness was the same. Sherman was asked how an athlete is able to flip that switch from feeling underpaid to then putting the team first. He said they’re not mutually exclusive.
“I don’t think it ever flips,” he said. “Those things can go hand in hand, because we want that for him as well. We want him to get everything he can get, we want everybody to get everything they can get, because this game, this game takes as much as it gives, honestly. It takes a lot. It takes a toll on the body it takes a toll on the mind.
“We want everybody to get as much as they can, but we also understand it’s a business, we understand the way our organization is run. There are certain things that you’ve got to do, certain things you’ve got to show up and you’ve got to show good faith, and that’s what they’re both doing right now and we appreciate that.”