PHOENIX: The Seattle Seahawks got a late injury scare as top defender Kam Chancellor was hurt in their final practice for their Super Bowl title defense on Sunday (Monday in Manila) against New England.
Chancellor and team-mate Earl Thomas are perhaps the top safety duo in the league, and the versatile, hard-hitting Chancellor is coming off a regular season that saw him finish with 78 combined tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and six deflected passes.
Chancellor was hurt on the penultimate play of the Seahawks’ final full practice on Friday.
He was helped up after falling near the goal line and departed the field — without a limp but with his left knee bandaged.
The Seahawks said he would be listed as “probable” to play on their injury report for Sunday’s Super Bowl 49.
Beefy and speedy, Chancellor sent Denver’s Demaryius Thomas flying with a prodigious hit on the Broncos’ second possession of last year’s Super Bowl that helped set the tone for the Seahawks’ 48-3 rout.
Chancellor’s match-up with Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski —another player who boasts unusual agility for his size and strength — is expected to be a key factor in whether the Seahawks can become the first team since the Patriots 10 years ago to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
“I’ll be sitting there with popcorn,” Seattle’s Richard Sherman said of seeing Chancellor go after “Gronk”. “It’ll be good football.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team would use various approaches to try to slow down Gronkowski, but Chancellor was certain to figure heavily — and the strong safety was looking forward to the challenge.
“He definitely is a big, physical guy,” Chancellor said this week of Gronkowski. “But it’s just big-on-big. Just play big-on-big.”