If you have been an NFL fan for a number of years, you likely have witnessed some great team defenses. Going back a few years, there was the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 70’s and more recently the Ravens with Ray Lewis and Co. In more recent times, one of the most feared defensive units has been the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom.
This once feared unit has taken quite a hit this season and could be nearing it’s end. With season-ending injuries to Richard Sherman (achilles) and more recently Kam Chancellor (neck, back, spine), they have been greatly depleted. These two perennial All-Pro players might just be a portion of this unit, but they are a vital part. Personally, I feel like these injuries will be the beginning of the end.
Once a Blueprint for Any Defense
For the better part of the last five or six seasons, the Seattle Seahawks’ defense has been very formidable. Over this time they have developed the nickname of the Legion of Boom, and for good reason. This unit has been near the top in fewest yards allowed, points allowed, and punishing hits given out for quite some time. With great players like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett, this unit was deep and dangerous. This same unit added Sheldon Richardson from the Jets this season and looked like they might be invincible. As it turns out, this is definitely not the case. As a matter of fact, not even this great unit is immune to the injury bug.
Injuries That Really Hurt
The Seattle Seahawks’ defense had been pretty good this season but not really up to their standards of the past. Things changed drastically recently with the season ending achilles injury to CB Richard Sherman. Taking away any team’s shut down corner can hurt a defense, but an All-Pro is an even bigger hit. This injury suffered by Sherman will keep him out till at least training camp of next season. That is a big blow for the Seahawks’ defense but a bigger blow was to come soon after.
Within the last week it turns out that SS Kam Chancellor will likely miss the rest of the season as well with a severe neck injury. Chancellor, the heart and soul of the Legion of Boom, had been reporting “neck stingers” initially. Stingers are just that a stinging, burning, throbbing sensation felt when there has been pressure applied to the nerves in the injured area. Normally this sensation goes away after anywhere from a few minutes to a few days at the most. This injury turns out that it is much more then just a “stinger” as formerly reported. The closest injury to this in recent times is the injury that was suffered by Peyton Manning. Peyton required neck surgery which kept him out for an entire season with the Colts.
The way that Chancellor plays is probably the biggest reason that he sustained this kind of injury. This Legion member played the position like a linebacker because he was bigger then most safeties. When Chancellor hit you, you were the bug and Chancellor was the windshield. He hit you with the intention of making sure you remember. An opposing player might think twice before coming his way again. This thunderous wear and tear is the thing that likely caused his injury he is suffering with now. In my opinion, he is going to require surgery to repair this issue he is having. If things go well he should fully recover. An injury like the one that Chancellor has suffered could easily be career threatening, and in this case I think it may just be.
Can They Come Back the Same as They Were?
Both of these players are phenomenal athletes, but they have sustained some serious injuries. Can they possibly come back the same as they always were as players? I would never say never, but I don’t think I would bet on it happening in this case. Both of these players are going to be 30 years old next season, and that is not young in the NFL. Playing the positions that they do, and facing the long stretches of rehab ahead of them it will be very tough to come back the same.
Do not be surprised if one or both of these players seriously considers retirement from the NFL. Sherman is a very smart, Stanford educated man and could easily end up in another safer career. Chancellor would have to give retirement a serious thought as well. His injury is quite scary for him to try and resume playing the position that he does. I really do think this is the beginning of the end of the Legion of Boom. I guess only time will tell for certain if this is true.