NORFOLK, Va. - It all started with "50 people" and Kam Chancellor having to make multiple trips to the grocery store for more food during his first Memorial Day cookout at Poplar Hall Park.
"I remember when there wasn't enough food," said Hampton high alum, and Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. "But now, people are actually donating food and donating plenty of other things for the community to come out here and have a good time together today."
Chancellor, a Maury High graduate, went on to attend Virginia Tech and has spent all 7 of his NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. No matter how big and beloved Chancellor has become in Seattle and the NFL, his heart brings him back to Norfolk every Memorial Day weekend.
"This holds me accountable to keep continue doing the things that I'm doing, to stay on the right path," said Chancellor. "Just to produce this now and see it come to the foresight, it's a blessing."
Virginia Tech legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Smith echoed those sentiments about Kam. "It just speaks to the character, and the integrity of him as a man." said Smith. "It speaks about the village that actually raised him from a young boy, to the man that he is today, and he hasn't lost those values."
Similar to years past, Chancellor got support from teammates, other local athletes, and the Hampton Roads community. Bayside High grad and Oakland Raiders quarterback E.J. Manuel, William & Mary grad and Chicago Bears cornerback B.W. Webb, and former Norfolk State and current New York Knick Kyle O'Quinn were in attendance.
Chancellor said the support from fellow athletes is what Hampton Roads needs. "When I was a kid, I never saw it. But I always told myself I want to be that one for the kids, I want to be that one for the community."
Great Bridge High graduate and Charlotte Hornet Briante Weber, Denbigh High alum and now-Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, and Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman were also supporting Chancellor during the weekend.