Pete Carroll approached Ryan Neal prior to practice sometime last week and shared an unexpected message.
“Kam wants to talk to you. Come up to my office and get his number,” Carroll told Neal.
Kam, of course, is Seahawks legendary safety Kam Chancellor. He wanted to offer Neal his expertise.
That’s because Neal had grabbed his first-career interception the weekend prior against the Dallas Cowboys. The takeaway came in the game’s final minutes and sealed Seattle’s win over Dallas.
He entered the game after Jamal Adams hurt his groin in the fourth quarter. All of a sudden, Neal had gone from practice squad call-up to starter in Seattle’s secondary. With Adams out against the Miami Dolphins in Week 4, it was Neal who was going to fill in at strong safety.
Neal admitted to having a bit of a fan boy moment when he heard Chancellor wanted to speak with him.
“Everybody watched the Legion of Boom. This is Kam Chancellor. The is the guy.”
Throughout the week, Chancellor went through Neal’s game and practice film with him. Neal shared that each day, Chancellor would send him new clips that he wanted to go through.
“He was breaking down my clips and telling me what to look at, when to look at it and all that,” Neal said. “It was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve had being in the league so far, getting that kind of advice from a legendary dude. It was super cool.”
Neal came up big once again in Miami. He had a first quarter interception and delivered a crushing hit on Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin on a short pass into the flat. It was a hit that surely made Chancellor proud.
The pair of highlight plays have made Neal a rising star in the Pacific Northwest.
“He brings a lot with him. It’s not just athleticism, it’s his smarts and his attitude and his character and all that,” Carroll said on Wednesday.
Neal has gotten some national attention as well. He made a live TV appearance on NFL Network on Wednesday morning prior to speaking with Seattle reporters. That’s a lot of attention for a guy who had only played in four career games prior to this season.
“It’s new for me. I can tell you that. I’m a low-key kind of guy,” Neal said.
Neal has been in Seattle since last September. He was a member of the Seahawks practice squad until a late-season promotion to the active roster. He appeared in three games and had one special teams tackle.
Now he’s in line for another start with Adams out again in Week 5 against the Vikings.
“I told Jamal, ‘I’m ready to hold it down until you get back,’” Neal said. “I know my team is counting on me, so I feel like I have to bring my best and make sure I’ve got my boxes checked off and I’m improving every day.”
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