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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



November 24, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Seahawks clean-up hitter

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Chancellor getting long look from NFL for hard hits
By Danny O'Neil | The Seattle Times

So is coach Pete Carroll worried about his starting strong safety developing a reputation for illegal hits?

"Yeah," Carroll said. "Kind of."

The coach talked extensively both after the game Sunday and again on Monday of the challenge facing players in the secondary in doing their best to make a play, and in the process getting penalized and potentially fined for a hit. That's what happened to Chancellor after his hit on Baltimore's Anquan Boldin, and it very well may have happened again this week after he was penalized for his hit on Rams' tight end Lance Kendricks. Chancellor said after practice Wednesday he had been contacted by the league, but declined to discuss any fines -- if any -- were levied against him.

According to STATS Inc., Chancellor is tied for third in the league with three 15-yard personal fouls called against him. New England's Richard Seymour has four penalties called against him, Miami's Yeremiah Bell has had five.

Chancellor has actually had four 15-yard penalties levied against him if you include the additional roughing-the-passer penalty.

The fact that those first two penalties did not result in fines speaks to the difficulty of officiating the new emphasis of league rules because while Chancellor was penalized for an illegal hit, he was not fined, indicating that upon further review those were not illegal hits.

1) His block of Arizona tight end Todd Heap on Earl Thomas' interception return - which was declined; 2) A roughing-the-passer penalty against Cleveland's Colt McCoy for leading with his helmet on a play in which Chancellor did not hit McCoy with his helmet.

It all speaks to the difficulty a player like Chancellor faces. He's a big hitter. It's part of the reason he's a fifth-round pick who has played his way into a starting job his second year in the league. His size amplifies the effects of those hits, and he has clearly demonstrated a desire to play within the rules. I think specifically of the block on Heap, which was at the Cardinal tight end's shoulder and not his head. There was also a play in Week 1 against Josh Morgan when Chancellor could have uncorked a kill shot on Josh Morgan in the hole, he didn't.

Chancellor's hits the past two weeks prevented completions, but the fact they produced penalties illustrates the difficulty safeties now face.

"There's a lot of challenges," said Earl Thomas, Seattle's starting free safety. "First, you got to worry about the money issue. They're taking money out of your pocket, especially when guys are playing aggressive like Kam. He's a big banger. Me, on the other hand, I'll hit you, but I'm not really a banger like Kam is. When you have big guys, and receivers are coming across the middle, Kam, that's his mentality is just to go strike. I don't think that's going to change his mentality or anything. But it's unfortunate he's getting the money taken out of his pockets."

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