Kam Chancellor will indeed make his 2015 debut in the Seahawks' home opener.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll indicated Friday that Chancellor would likely play Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and a day later Seattle made the roster move necessary to make that happen. Chancellor, who had been on the reserve/did not report list, meaning he did not count towards the 53-man roster, was activated off of that list, while safety Dion Bailey was waived to make room on the roster.
Chancellor, who missed all of the preseason and Seattle's first-two regular-season games, reported on Wednesday and has practiced all week. Despite a good week of practice, it was unclear if he would play given the lack of preparation he has had up to this point. Carroll said Friday that they were planning on Chancellor playing, but added that they needed to see how his body responded to three straight days of practice before making a final decision.
"He looked very normal," Carroll said following Friday's practice. "He looked just like he's always looked. A real credit to the work that he did while he was home. He's in great shape, and he looked terrific. We'll find out (Saturday) after three days back-to-back-to-back how he came out and then we'll make our final decision, but the plan is that he will play."
Chancellor's return does not necessarily mean he'll play the entire game, something that would normally be the case for a starting safety. Carroll said it wasn't unrealistic for Chancellor to do so, but added, "Whether it's the right thing to do or not, we need to determine that."
Sports science plays a big role in determining if or how much Chancellor can plays on Sunday. A few years ago, a team might not have a good feel for how ready a player in Chancellor's situation was for game action, but thanks to data the Seahawks have gathered in the past, which they can compare to what they've seen this week, they have a better feel for where Chancellor is from a physical standpoint.
"We do a lot of stuff to monitor our guy's workload, and the accumulation of information is what really gives us good accuracy and ability to predict what's up," Carroll said. "Since he's only been here a week, we don't have a lot to go on, but we can compare to stuff we've had from last year and all that. So that's what we do. We do a very in depth analysis of our guys and how they're taking to the work, and we operate with that information and adjust accordingly.
"We've been working really solidly with it for a couple years now… We have enough information now that we can really start to predict stuff. You have to have a backlog and a reservoir of stuff, and as we've stuck with it, it's seemingly coming to the surface a lot. We're talking about it quite a bit because we think the information is really accurate."
Bailey, who first signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie in 2014, spent part of last year on the practice squad, then made Seattle's 53-man roster out of camp. With Chancellor gone, Bailey won the starting strong safety job and started the opener against St. Louis, but was replaced in the lineup by DeShawn Shead last week.