(Reuters) - Safety Kam Chancellor, who sat out the first two games of the season because of a contract dispute, gave the Seattle Seahawks a much needed boost on Wednesday when he reported for duty with the National Football League team.
Chancellor, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who is one of the hardest hitters in the league, had been seeking an increase in his 2015 salary while the Seattle management maintained they would not give in to his demands.
The standoff proved to be costly for both sides with the Seahawks, Super Bowl champions in February 2014 and runners-up last season, losing their first two games and Chancellor forgoing some $2 million in wages.
According to the NFL Network, Chancellor was rejoining the team with or without a new deal.
“I‘m just happy to be back, happy to be back playing football, happy to be back with the organization, with my team, with my team mates, the coaches,” Chancellor said during a news conference.
”Watching my team mates and my team play week to week, the first and second games, and watching those losses ... they were hurting, being the leader that I am.
“So I think the time is now to come back and put all business to the side ... and get back to work.”
Asked how he his contract talks had gone, Chancellor replied: “Those things I would rather deal with at the end of the season. Right now, it’s just about coming back and playing football.”
Chancellor, 27, has reached three Pro Bowls in his five years with Seattle where his special blend of size and strength has proved indispensable.
He signed a five-year contract extension worth nearly $30 million in 2013 but has since watched the Seahawks splash the cash on quarterback Russell Wilson, rusher Marshawn Lynch and linebacker Bobby Wagner.
During Chancellor’s holdout, the Seahawks played their first two games with Dion Bailey and DeShawn Shead starting at strong safety and Bailey gave up a late game-tying score in the season-opening 34-31 overtime loss to the St Louis Rams.
The much vaunted ‘Legion of Boom’ secondary has sorely missed the bruising impact play of Chancellor and Seattle now sit bottom of the NFC West.
“He’s a big part of our program, as he always has been,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said before introducing Chancellor at Wednesday’s news conference. “He’s a fantastic leader ... so we are thrilled to have him back, ready to go to work.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue/Andrew Both