Dion Bailey says the texts and calls come pretty much on a daily basis.
They're not from Pete Carroll or defensive coordinator Kris Richard, but rather from someone who hasn't appeared at the practice facility all summer: Kam Chancellor.
"I talk to Kam often, especially after games," said Bailey, who is lining up at strong safety with the first team in Chancellor's place. "Just asking him how I looked, what he thinks I could have done better. It’s been all positive. He’s been a huge supporter in my corner ever since I’ve been granted this opportunity, and I support him in what he’s trying to do."
It's an unusual situation. If Chancellor doesn't show up once the regular season starts, Bailey will likely be a starter alongside Earl Thomas. An undrafted free agent out of USC in 2014, Bailey suffered an ankle injury last offseason. As he navigates his way through the ins and outs of the defense, Chancellor has proven to be an invaluable resource.
"This game is much more than just football to Kam," Bailey said. "He’s really a person that wants to see everybody prosper. He’s not letting the business aspect of the game get into his emotional side. He still loves football, wants to see everybody do well. He watches film every day, critiques me through practice. He texts me like, ‘Oh, you should have did that’ or ‘You looked good doing that’ type thing. He’s so passionate about seeing other people do well. You don’t find that in a guy that’s had so much success. They’re normally more selfish-minded, but he’s the complete opposite of that."
Chancellor's standing in the locker room could be one reason why Seahawks management doesn't want to budge and adjust his contract. If the team holds firm on Chancellor, a Pro Bowl player who is the consummate teammate, others in the future may be less likely to ask that their deals be restructured.
Carroll said again Thursday that nothing has changed in terms of Chancellor's status. The Seahawks have two more preseason games before they start to prepare for the opener against the Rams. At some point, the team will have to hone in on a plan for taking the field in the regular season without Chancellor.
"No we’re not changing anything," said Carroll, when asked if he'd have to tweak the scheme without Chancellor. "All that we’ll do over time is we’ll adapt to our players and what they’re good at. That’s kind of how we do it. But scheme-wise, we don’t have to change anything. Our guys fit to do the things we’re asking them to do, but we’ll see. You know Dion Bailey’s a unique football player. He does a lot of really exciting things out there, and there’s some things that maybe we position him in to fit his talents, but that’s nothing new for us. That’s just the way we do it."
Added Bailey: "All you can ever ask for is the opportunity to display your ability, and I’ve been granted a wonderful opportunity, one I could never have even dreamed of. So I plan to take full advantage of this."