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News » Seahawks' LB corps goes from loaded to liability

Seahawks' LB corps goes from loaded to liability

Seahawks' LB corps goes from loaded to liability
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - No Julian Peterson. No Leroy Hill.

No wonder the Seahawks know all about Aaron Curry. The freakish outside linebacker from Wake Forest is expected to be among the first players taken in this month's NFL draft.

Linebacker-thin Seattle owns the fourth overall pick.

"You know, I've heard some good things about him," current, de facto starting linebacker Will Herring said of Curry after minicamp practice Wednesday. "A guy like him maybe could help the defense out."


The 6-foot-2, 254-pound Curry made offensive linemen look like turnstiles on his way to poor college quarterbacks. At the league's scouting combine in February, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds. That was tied for the second-fastest among 130 outside linebackers tested, .02 seconds behind Wisconsin's Jonathan Casillas. His 37-inch vertical leap was second-highest among the top linebackers. He is regarded as easily the best at his position in this crapshoot draft, which has no consensus top picks.

Perhaps no rookie could impact the Seahawks as immediately as a dynamic pass rusher and playmaker. Seattle finished last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and 30th in total defense while sinking to 4-12 in 2008.

Curry doesn't exactly sound bashful about making an immediate splash in the NFL.

"I can come in instantly and make an impact on anybody's defense," Curry told reporters at the combine in Indianapolis. "And (with) my versatility as a linebacker to be able to play in the 3-4, inside or outside, or 4-3, inside or outside, you just can't go wrong."

He's reputed to be so good, he may be gone before Seattle picks.

A month ago, the Seahawks had one of the best - and richest - linebacking corps in the league. Then they traded Peterson, their three-time Pro Bowler, to Detroit.

Herring was stunned.

"It caught me off guard," he said on the eve of his third season out of Auburn. "I will say, Julian has been a great leader not just for me, but the entire linebacking corps. The experience I had with him was invaluable."

The Seahawks are also stalled in negotiations on a long-term contract with Hill. Their designated franchise player is choosing to stay away from this minicamp that ends Thursday, and indefinitely after that, rather than sign Seattle's tender offer of $8.3 million guaranteed.

Plus veteran reserve D.D. Lewis is currently out, rehabilitating from injury.

Star middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu is still the defense's top gun, but suddenly he has the most anonymous wing men in the league.

Herring is a special teams regular who has made one NFL start. Lance Laury, another special teamer, is currently the other first-team outside linebacker. He has not started a game in his three pro seasons.

Not only are Herring and Laury raw, they are trying to learn the terminology and schemes of new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, whom Jim Mora has brought in for his first season as Seahawks' coach.

"It's a learning experience," Laury said.

Good thing it's only April. And that the draft is just weeks away.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they drafted a linebacker," Herring said.

So what? He has been through far more trying times than this.

Last summer, his knees and ankles were so swollen they made his legs inflexible. The Seahawks sent him to specialists all over Seattle while he missed training camp and the first six weeks of the season. Some told him he might have chronic, debilitating arthritis for the rest of his life, scary stuff for a 25-year-old who relies on running to make a living.

Doctors finally determined Herring's autoimmune system was malfunctioning and causing the joint inflammation. They prescribed twice-per-month shots of autoimmune inhibitors.

He hasn't taken the shots since late December. He said the condition has vanished, as mysteriously as it appeared.

"It was scary. It definitely made me realize how blessed I am to be here and have my health," he said, looking around the Seahawks' fancy locker room.

So, no, his team possibly adding Curry doesn't faze Herring.

"If they bring in somebody, he will be one of the LBs," he said, flatly. "Bring him in."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 9, 2009

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