Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor stood in the locker room just before the start of practice Thursday surrounded by reporters. As Chancellor adjusted his gloves, he was asked about his level of urgency to return after a four-game absence, to which he replied, "I'm trying to get outside right now. That much urgency."
And with that, Chancellor was off for his second practice of the week, another indication that the Pro-Bowl strong safety is indeed ready to play against the Patriots Sunday following a four-game absence due to a groin injury.
"It feels good to be back, back out there with my teammates," Chancellor said. "It feels great… It was pretty tough, but I made the best of it, concentrated on my leadership skills and just studying."
Part of that studying was going through normal game preparation each week even when he knew he wasn't playing, as well as wearing an earpiece during games so he could hear play-calls coming in from defensive coordinator Kris Richard.
"It was just listening to the calls, trying to call out routes like I'm watching, because I prepared like I was playing every game, taking notes, watching film and breaking teams down like I'm playing," Chancellor said.
While eager to get back and help his team, Chancellor was impressed with how the defense held up in his absence, saying, "They did great. They did real good. They had some battles, but they didn't back down. Of course there were some little minor mistake here and there we have to clean up—we won't be perfect, there's stuff to clean up every week—but I think they did great."
And while Kelcie McCray played well in Chancellor's absence, there's no getting around the fact that having Chancellor's presence on the field once again will be big for the Seahawks.
"It's always huge to have 31 out there," Richard said. "Kam is a cornerstone of this defense, always has been for a very long time. We understand that it's just a different aura around the team when he's able to play. Yes, Kelcie has done a fantastic job for us, but it's sort of the same idea with Michael Bennett, it's very difficult shoes to fill and those are essentially irreplaceable guys because of what they bring. They're unique, they have great personalities, and they're a huge part of our defense. It will be good to get Kam back."