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Gronk Kryptonite? Will injured Kam Chancellor play in Super Bowl XLIX?

Kam Chancellor tweaked his knee in practice Friday but took part in the Super Bowl pregame. He's part of Seattle's potent 1-2 punch to keep New England's Rob Gronkowski in check.

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The New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) is tackled by the Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor in the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle in 2012. The two will face off again in Super Bowl XLIX Sunday in Arizona.

Elaine Thompson/AP/File

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For any team that plays the New England Patriots, the first question is: Who's going to cover tight end Rob Gronkowski?

A big part of the Seattle Seahawks' answer to that question showed up for the pregame portion of Super Bowl XLIV in a knee brace. Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor injured his knee at the end of practice Friday, throwing doubt on his ability to play – and play well – in Sunday's game.

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He went through pregame drills with the team Sunday, suggesting that he'll be ready to go at kickoff. On Saturday, Seattle Coach Pete Carroll said Chancellor "looked great" in practice.

He'll need to be great. Gronkowski is 6-feet, 6-inches of top sirloin. He'll pound you, and then he'll dance at your misfortune, probably with that same grin he had when he ran over the neighbor's cat on his BMX at age 10. (OK, we have no evidence that ever happened, but seriously, who would be surprised if it did.) Gronk is a cross between Dennis the Menace and Brian Bosworth, a can of whuppin' just waiting to be cracked open.

Chancellor is maybe the closest thing that the National Football League has to a defensive Gronk. He hits people – hard – because that appears to be right after breathing on his biological to-do list. Indeed, their matchup was one of the most anticipated parts of this Super Bowl.

The fact, is, however, that solving Gronk is not all on Chancellor Sunday. In fact, it might be more about linebacker Bobby Wagner. While Wagner was out injured this year, Seattle was 27th-best in the league at covering tight ends. After he came back, they were third, noted Bill Barnwell at ESPN's Grantland.

Of course, Chancellor was a part of that 1-2 tag team with Wagner, and if Chancellor is vulnerable, you can bet the Patriots will seek to exploit that.


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