Kam Chancellor put on his gray coat. He hiked up the collar and walked out of the Seahawks’ solemn locker room.
The four-time Pro Bowl strong safety turns 29 in April. He holds the franchise record by playing in his 14th postseason game on Saturday. He has one year left on his contract that is currently scheduled to have a charge against Seattle’s 2017 salary cap of $8,125,008.
That’s a lot for a player whose thumping style has resulted him not playing an entire season without missing games because of injury since 2013.
What does he believe his future is with the Seahawks, the only team he’s known since they drafted him in 2010?
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“I ain’t thinking about it,” Chancellor said in the hallway leading out of the visiting locker room at the Georgia Dome following Seattle’s season-ending loss to the Atlanta Falcons, 36-20, in the NFC divisional playoffs.
“Day to day.”
Asked if he expects to still be a Seahawk, Chancellor smiled and said, “day to day.” Then he walked out the door to the team bus.
He asked — then demanded — the Seahawks renegotiate or extend his four-year, $28 million before the 2015 season. When they didn’t, citing precedent of not redoing deals with more than one year on them, he held out. He stayed away more than 50 days, until after Seattle lost the first two games of the 2015 season.
Then he watched teammate Michael Bennett, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end 2 ½ years older than he, get a four-year extension with $17.5 million guaranteed last month. Bennett’s previous, four-year, $28.5 million deal was also going to expire after the 2017 season.
The Seahawks this offseason could ask Chancellor to extend, but at a renegotiated rate that would lower his cap number in 2017.
He missed four games this season with a strained groin, his latest in a series of injuries that have signaled his punishing style of play may be catching up to him.
Yet the first man coach Pete Carroll mentioned after Saturday’s loss as providing the leadership necessary to keep open the Seahawks’ window of championship opportunity?
Yes, Kam Chancellor.
Chancellor agreed with his coach that this is still the middle of the Seahawks’ contention for Super Bowls, not the end after a fifth consecutive playoff appearance — but second in a row that ended on the road in round two.
“We’ve got young guys; a lot of guys are still young. And these are just lessons,” Chancellor said. “This was a game of lessons. The season was a game of lessons. As long as we learn from them, and everybody looks themselves in the eyes and understands what the lesson is, we’ll be good.”
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle