Yes, Kam Chancellor is still a holdout.
But his qualities, his techniques, his outlook on the game, even his style of play at the same position in which he stars are present and, on Tuesday, very well-accounted for at the Seattle Seahawks’ training camp — all through Chancellor’s half-brother, undrafted rookie strong safety Keenan Lambert.
“My brother’s still here in spirit. I talk to him daily,” the 6-foot, 209-pound Lambert said Tuesday after his best of Seattle’s 10 camp practices in which he flew all over the field, broke up passes and stalked receivers like his older brother does. “He critiques me on what I can improve on.
“Even if I have a great day, like today, there’s always something to improve on. And he will find something for me to improve on.”
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From afar. Chancellor is in the 12th day of his holdout that has no end in sight. The Seahawks are not budging from their stance they won’t renegotiate contracts that have three years remaining on them, as Chancellor’s does. His absence could now cost him a maximum of $560,000 if the team chooses to fine him for his absences — not that it will.
The Seahawks’ popular leader and thudding tackler wants more than the $4.55 million in base salary ($4.45 million of that is guaranteed) he is currently scheduled to earn in 2015.
Karen Lambert raised the 27-year-old Chancellor, his 23-year-old half-brother and Seahawks teammate plus three other siblings alone in the crime-filled Park Place neighborhood on the west side of Norfolk, Virginia. She did so while working two jobs for as long as anyone can remember.
Chancellor has older acquaintances in his hometown, guys he used to look up to there, who now look up to him as the huge success and tell him, “Don't forget about us.”
Now his Seahawks teammates, especially his younger brother, are not forgetting about him, even though he’s not here.
Uh, where is he, exactly?
“Kam, right now, I don’t know his exact location,” Lambert said. “But I know he is working hard.”
How does he sound?
“Normally we text,” Lambert said.
“Normally, it’s like ‘Little bro,’ you can correct this. Get there faster. Get your hips lower. Get your hips loosened,’ ” said Lambert, who played through last season at Norfolk State in his and Chancellor’s hometown. “Just little pointers to get my game better in general.”
Does his brother sense Chancellor is frustrated by his situation having no apparent resolution?
“Kam has a great heart,” Lambert said. “Regardless, he’s going to be the best man he can be. He’s going to be the best teammate he can be. The best brother. That’s just who he is.
“Kam, he watches the film. He watches the practice,” Lambert added, echoing what No. 2 strong safety DeShawn Shead said last weekend. “He texts all the guys on and off, like I said, giving them pointers on what they can improve on and how to be a better team player.”
It’s working for Lambert. On Tuesday he was the best backup to new No. 1 strong safety Dion Bailey.
Wearing jersey No. 2, Lambert zipped from the middle of the end zone to the right sideline to break up a pass intended for tight end Jimmy Graham. It was one of the few times in camp a defender has thwarted the 6-7, 270-pound dominator.
Then, very Chancellor-like, Lambert boldly stomped toward Graham and stared him down from the end zone. Graham looked at the rookie and jogged away.
“Just competition,” Lambert said later, with a somewhat sheepish grin. “He’s a great player, so when I finally get the chance I want to do my best just like he’s trying to do his best. My job is to try to defend the pass, and that’s what I did.
“No, I’m not very star struck.”
That, too, is because of Chancellor. He’s hosted Lambert at CenturyLink Field for a half-dozen Seahawks home games in recent years. Off the field Lambert got to know Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Chancellor’s mates in the “Legion of Boom” secondary far better than any other college guy from Virginia.
“I’ve known a couple of people from the ‘LOB’ for a minute now,” Lambert said. “I actually went out with them a couple times. I know them on a personal level.
“It’s no big thing to me.”
Tuesday he also zoomed through the guard-tackle gap to meet ball carrier Christine Michael almost as he took the handoff in the backfield. A few plays after that, Lambert peeled back out of covering a shorter zone to break up a pass targeting a deeper out route.
Such is his comfort with Seattle’s 3-4 schemes that Chancellor has been sharing with him for years. A true glimpse of what this “Little Kam” is known for back in Virginia should come Friday in the first exhibition game against Denver. That’s when Lambert finally gets to tackle.
Yet no matter how good he looks at strong safety in practices and these exhibition games, his big brother has already given him the best advice on how to make a Pete Carroll-coached team as an undrafted free agent.
“My plan is to dominate on special teams,” Lambert said, “and then move up the depth chart.”
He has one more plan. It’s one he has dreamed about since he was a kid looking up to Chancellor in that same house in Norfolk a dozen and more years ago.
Asked if he expects Chancellor back in camp soon, Lambert said: “I expect to play with my brother. … He’s helped me get to this point.
“I always wanted to play with my brother. You know, I had options (to sign after the draft) with other teams (particularly Carolina), but I always wanted to play with my brother. Him being four, five years older than me I was never able to actually play with him. I was only able to learn from him. Learn how to play just like him.”
As Tuesday showed, Lambert is more than just a hard hitter in the mold of his more famous — and currently idled — brother.
“Predominantly, I am pass-first,” he said. “I have a physical mindset to come down and tackle people very aggressively; I try to have a mindset like my brother’s.
“But you can’t say he’s one-dimensional, either. And I don’t want to be one-dimensional.”
FRIDAY: Denver at Seattle, 7 p.m., Ch. 13, 710-AM