Seattle Seahawks

Chancellor’s ‘presence’ important in Seattle’s 26-0 shutout

Fans roar as Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor, left, makes his first appearance at CenturyLink Field after ending his long holdout last week. Cornerback Richard Sherman is alongside him.
Fans roar as Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor, left, makes his first appearance at CenturyLink Field after ending his long holdout last week. Cornerback Richard Sherman is alongside him. Staff photographer

Kam Chancellor didn’t make any big, game-changing plays in his return to CenturyLink Field on Sunday as the Seattle Seahawks shut out Chicago, 26-0.

His first and only recorded tackle — which he shared with Ahtyba Rubin — was in the third quarter. On the Bears’ opening drive of the half, he forced running back Matt Forte to the ground after a 2-yard gain.

But Chancellor did provide something in Seattle’s home opener.

“Presence,” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Sometimes a great receiver won’t have a lot of targets, but he’ll have double teams and open up the run game.

“I think he had presence out there. I think he made the right calls, and put people in position to be successful.”

Chancellor returned to the Seahawks on Wednesday, ending a nearly eight-week holdout, and was activated to play Saturday.

Prior to kickoff, he exited the tunnel to the roars of 69,002 fans — a CenturyLink record — slammed his fist down in his famous “Bam-Bam Gavel” motion, and jumped into the air before running onto the field.

“You saw when he ran out of the tunnel, the whole stadium was just electrified,” linebacker K.J. Wright said.

Chancellor said it was warming to receive the response he did from the crowd.

“I know we have loyal fans here,” he said. “No matter what happens, they’re loyal. I’m grateful and thankful for the response I got from them.”

Chancellor was on the field for 36 of 46 defensive plays over 10 series by the Bears. Chancellor said it was normal to be back on the field.

“It just felt like playing football again,” he said. “It felt good out there, being with my brothers, communicating.”

It was routine.

“There was solidarity, there was continuity,” Sherman said. “Kind of back where we left off.”

The Seahawks limited Chicago to 146 total yards, and forced six three-and-outs.

Chancellor did not see much action as Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen only passed 17 times — all short passes — with nine completions for 63 yards.

Chicago never made it to the red zone, and only crossed midfield once.

“You want to suffocate a team,” Chancellor said. “And I think it’s big for our defensive staff, for the players, for everybody, because it sends a statement.”

Chancellor missed seven plays of an 11-play drive in the second quarter, and another three plays on Chicago’s final drive in the fourth — though he said the decision to sit out was not his choice.

He said he held up fine physically throughout the game, and had stamina to spare.

“I could play another one,” he joked.

When he wasn’t on the field, Chancellor was active on the sideline. When Tyler Lockett returned a 105-yard kickoff for a touchdown to open the third quarter, Chancellor excitedly ran down the sideline through the completion of the play.

He was quick to congratulate Jimmy Graham with a high-five and chest bump after Graham’s 30-yard touchdown reception two drives later gave Seattle a 20-0 lead.

And Chancellor high-fived teammates and coaches at every turn — maybe the most high-fives he’s ever given or received.

“I think that’s probably been the most — just a welcome back thing,” he said.

The Seahawks seemed plenty happy to have him back.

“You can just see, he makes us whole,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473

lauren.smith@gateline.com

@smithlm12

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