OAKLAND – Growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, Kam Chancellor and his younger brother, Kennan Lambert, shared a passion for football, but thanks to their four-year age difference, they never shared the same football field. Lambert looked up to Chancellor and went to his games, and Chancellor went to Lambert's when he could as a supportive older brother, but being teammates was never really an option.
That has changed now that Lambert is out of college and trying to make his way in the NFL, and on Thursday night, Lambert and Chancellor finally got to play in a game together when Lambert replaced Earl Thomas at free safety when Seattle's defense took the field for Oakland's second offensive series. Seattle's starters played the opening series, then their nights were over with the exception of Chancellor, who had asked Seahawks coach Pete Carroll early in the week if he might be able to play with Lambert. Prior to the game, Carroll informed Chancellor that he would make that moment happen.
"I don't know if that's ever happened in the NFL, brothers at the same position on the same team," Chancellor said. "It's very special. Us growing up, I was always years ahead of him, but to be at the same level, playing on the same field, doing the same thing that we both love, that's a big thing."
Lambert played a lot the rest of the game after replacing Thomas, while Chancellor was only in the game for two series, but those five plays Chancellor and Lambert shared were five plays that both brothers will remember forever.
"That was the greatest moment ever," Lambert said. "I've been waiting on it my entire life just to be able to play beside him. The confidence he instilled in me coming out there with him… I thought I'd be rattled a little bit, but he just calmed me down, kept me level-headed and ready to go play ball.
"I found out probably right after the kickoff. They told me ET was going three plays, then get ready, they were going to let me have that dream come true to play with my brother. I don't know how long it was going to last, but I was happy to at least get one play."
For Lambert, this is his second preseason with the Seahawks since going undrafted out of Norfolk State in 2015, though he and Chancellor did not have a chance to share a field in a game last year because of Chancellor's holdout. Lambert eventually ended up in Oakland, where he played five games and also spent time on the practice squad, then returned to Seattle during camp this year a better player. Lambert feels like he is better in his second stint with Seattle in part because he has a year of experience under his belt, but also he is more focused on special teams play, which can be a big factor in decisions like the ones the Seahawks and 31 other teams have to make Saturday when reducing their rosters to 53 players.
"I've got to take advantage of special teams," Lambert said. "Special teams was something I really didn't value much last year, because I was so worried about trying to get a spot on defense, but then I learned you can make the team on special teams… That's been my goal, just to own special teams."
Lambert indeed took advantage of special teams Thursday in addition to a strong performance on defense. Lambert not only tied for the team lead in tackles on defense with seven, he also led the Seahawks with five tackles on special teams, four of which were solo tackles.
"He was all over the field, some big hits, just a lot of good plays," Chancellor said. "He could have had an interception on one play. He just went out there real poised and confident. This was the last preseason game, his last interview pretty much, and he laid it all on the line."
For the first time in his life, Chancellor was saying that about Lambert not as a proud big brother who had just watched his younger brother play a game, but as a big brother who had just shared a field with his little brother.
"That was something we wanted to make happen," Carroll said. "It was very special for those guys to do that."
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