Seahawks' Legion of Boom is battling to overcome injuries

RENTON, Wash. -- The Legion of Boom begins preparations for the 2015 season as the Legion of Bruised.

By the end of Super Bowl XLIX, most of the highly acclaimed secondary for the Seattle Seahawks was hurt. In fact, only cornerback Byron Maxwell wasn't hurt, and he's no longer here after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent.

Cornerback Richard Sherman had a torn ligament in his elbow; free safety Earl Thomas had a separated shoulder; strong safety Kam Chancellor had a torn knee ligament; nickelback Jeremy Lane had a broken arm and torn ACL; and cornerback Tharold Simon had a separated shoulder.

The aggressive play of Seattle's defensive backs had taken a toll on a team that played 38 games over 17 months (reaching back-to-back Super Bowls) and 56 games over 29 months in the previous three seasons.

"These last few years we've played a lot of games," Sherman said on John Clayton's 710 ESPN Seattle radio show. "It's tops in the league. It wears on your body, and you're going to have injuries."

Most of the injuries happened in the postseason. Thomas and Sherman were injured in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay. Lane's injuries came in the Super Bowl on his first-quarter interception. Chancellor's knee injury happened at practice two days before the Super Bowl.

The outlook for 2015 is much better than it was immediately after the heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. At that time, it was thought Sherman would need Tommy John surgery on his elbow and Chancellor would need knee surgery to repair his torn MCL.

That wasn't true for either player. Sherman and Chancellor are going full speed in organized team activities.

"I feel great," Chancellor said. "I feel back to football form. I feel fast, feel strong. I just feel good out there. I started training two weeks after the Super Bowl, and two weeks after that, I started feeling back to normal again. It was a miracle.

"This is, like, my strongest offseason since I've been in the league. I wasn't able to train in the offseason because of surgeries. This is my first offseason training without surgeries, and I just feel a whole lot stronger at this point."

Even Sherman is amazed at Chancellor's recovery.

"Kam's a machine," Sherman said. "I'm waiting for somebody to cut him open and study him and see what he's made of because they don't make 'em like him. I've always said he recovers as fast as anybody. That's just who he is. He's a punisher.

"His style of play will leave a lot of people hurt if they hit people like that on a consistent basis, but he recovers from that quickly. His presence is felt and needed, and so is Earl's. I knew he's chomping at the bit. He'll be out there as quickly as he can."

Thomas had shoulder surgery in February and is expected to return later this summer. He surprised some people Tuesday in the OTA session when he participated in some of the position drills.

Nevertheless, the Seahawks probably will play it conservatively with their star safety, not taking any chances in the preseason to make sure he's healthy come September.

"He looks great," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said about Thomas. "They're really fired up about his return and the rehab work he's done already. So it looks like it should be no problem. We'll have to wait and see once he gets back out there."

Lane is going to take a little longer. He suffered a gruesome compound fracture of his arm in the Super Bowl, along with the ACL tear.

"Jeremy has had another concern come up in his arm and they're going to stay with it," Carroll said. "His knee's doing great. His arm is going to take a little longer than we thought to heal, so there's some stuff they're doing to take care of him."

Sherman also isn't 100 percent. He elected not to have the so-called Tommy John surgery because, unlike a baseball pitcher, Sherman doesn't need to throw a 90 mph fastball.

"It's doing a lot better," Sherman said of his elbow. "Obviously, scar tissue is still there, but my mobility is there. I have a lot more strength in my extension than I had at the end of last season. It just comes down to time to get the scar tissue more flexible than it was."

Many Seahawks fans wonder how the Super Bowl would have turned out if the Legion of Boom had been healthy. Lane went out early. Sherman and Thomas were each playing with one good arm, and Chancellor somehow managed to play the entire game wearing a brace over his torn MCL.

"There are no excuses," Sherman said. "Whether we were healthy or not, we lost. We accept that and move on. It was an emotional last couple of games. You understand that you win some and you lose some. Overcoming adversity is what helped all of us get to where we are today."

Now they will need to overcome injuries that have left the Legion of Boom a battered bunch.

"We'll be able to go back healthier and wiser," Sherman said. "Every year you grow wiser in the game and more mature."