Pete Carroll not optimistic Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril will return

Pete Carroll does not seem optimistic that Kam Chancellor or Cliff Avril will return to football, much less the Seahawks, after both sustained significant neck injuries this season.

The Seahawks coach didn’t delve too deep into Chancellor and Avril’s health, but said it would be their decision if they returned.

“Cliff and Kam are going to have a hard time playing football again,” Carroll said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle, via the Seattle Times.

Avril, 31, was accidently kicked in the chin during the Seahawks game against the Colts in October, while Chancellor, 29, was hurt in the Seahawks’ Week 10 win over the Cardinals.

Avril’s contract runs through next season and Chancellor signed a three-year extension with the team in August, so releasing the two players could clear up a chunk of Seattle’s cap space.

It’s been a rough season on the Seahawks’ defense — Richard Sherman was sidelined for much of the year with a ruptured Achilles, and Earl Thomas has sustained knee and heel injuries that kept him out for a few games.