RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor said scans on his injured neck have shown no improvement and declared it was "time for the next chapter."
Chancellor had been awaiting further clarity on his neck, which he injured in a game against the Arizona Cardinals in November. In a posting on his Twitter account Sunday night, Chancellor said his latest scans "showed no healing."
"I've played through all types of bruises and injuries at a high level. But this one, I just can't ignore," he wrote.
Chancellor never used the word "retirement" in his statement, which may have been deliberate. Chancellor signed an extension through the 2020 season last August which contained guaranteed money in case of injury. An official retirement could open up the possibility of forfeiting some of that money. Chancellor's extension was signed before the start of last season and included a total of $25 million in guaranteed money.
Chancellor was named to four Pro Bowl teams (2011, 2013-15) and was twice a second-team All-Pro selection (2013, 2014). He appeared in 109 career games for Seattle with 93 starts after being selected in the fifth-round of the 2010 NFL draft.
Seattle had foreshadowed the severity of Chancellor's situation without providing specific details regarding his injury. In his post, Chancellor said he was told paralysis was a possibility.
"When the doctors told me what was going on in (November), I could feel my heart drop to my stomach. The stiffness in my neck and the images I saw had me at one of my lowest points as a man, because football is all I knew outside of serving the Lord," Chancellor wrote. "To walk away from the game by choice is one thing, to walk away from the game because of the risk of paralysis is another."
Chancellor was part of Seattle's first draft under the leadership of coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. After a year as a backup, Chancellor became a starter in 2011 and quickly emerged as one of the hardest-hitting, most intimidating safeties in the NFL. Chancellor was also the emotional leader of a locker room and defense full of big personalities.
Chancellor's announcement — while expected by most — is the latest in an offseason filled with changes for Seattle that has seen Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril depart. Safety Earl Thomas has also been absent from Seattle's entire offseason program as he seeks a new contract with his current deal up after the 2018 season.
Seattle did address replacing Chancellor in the offseason by signing Bradley McDougald to a new deal after he filled in following Chancellor's injury last season.