One of the more prominent challenges facing the Seahawks in 2015 will be rebounding from one of the toughest losses in Super Bowl history.
A year after topping the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII to earn its first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, Seattle came up one yard short of capturing a second consecutive NFL title, falling 28-24 to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
As Organized Team Activities (OTAs) get underway this week, the Seahawks have their sights set on a third-straight Super Bowl trip, a feat last accomplished by the Buffalo Bills, who played in four-straight Super Bowls from 1990-93.
When Kam Chancellor met with the media on Tuesday after the first of 10 OTAs, the Seattle strong safety said he thinks the team is working harder than ever right now given the way the 2014 season ended.
"I told a lot of people, it feels like this offseason, everybody worked their hardest," said Chancellor. "I've seen guys out here busting their tails, the whole offseason going fast-tempo. Guys are lifting like crazy. It's just like the mindset is just sharpened. It just sharpened even more.
"We're more focused, more driven. We're just hungry for the first game of the year."
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has witnessed the same thing. He echoed Chancellor's take on his team's recent workouts.
"I feel it too," said Carroll. "I felt it right since the first days that the guys came back. Each year we challenge ourselves to put together the best offseason we can put together. It starts with the individual and then the guys bring that to their position groups and then to the team. We've had no exception to that. We've had great work and the attitude has been on it. That's all we could ask for."
Seahawks begin Organized Team Activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center as rookies and vets alike take the practice field for the first time this season.
For last year's defensive captain Chancellor, it's his first offseason in three years where he's been able to turn his focus to training. Ankle surgery two years ago and hip surgery last year limited his offseason activity to rehab.
Chancellor was asked if he feels better now than he did at any point this past year.
"Than any year," Chancellor replied. "This is like my strongest offseason since I've been in the League because I haven't been able to train in the offseason because of surgeries. This is my first offseason training without surgeries and I just feel a whole lot stronger at this point."
Two days before February's Super Bowl matchup with New England, Chancellor suffered a scare on the practice field. He collided knees with a teammate going for a ball and tore his MCL in the process.
"I just felt a rush of pain, of everything, in the knee," Chancellor recalled. "It swelled up fast."
A unique recovery allowed Chancellor to play against the Patriots. He was able to avoid surgery on the knee and started training again two weeks after the team's Super Bowl loss. Chancellor said he started to feel "back to normal" two more weeks after that.
"I feel great," Chancellor said. "I feel back to football form. Feel fast, feel strong. I just feel good out there."
That should be satisfying news for the Seahawks as they strive for a return to football's biggest stage.
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