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News » Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill happy to be back


Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill happy to be back


Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill happy to be back
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Leroy Hill pounced immediately from his linebacker spot, slamming his two paws on Justin Forsett. A few plays later, newly drafted Aaron Curry chased down a receiver in the open field, followed closely by Lofa Tatupu.


It was just the image Seattle Seahawks fans worried they might not see after last weekend when Hill's franchise tag was lifted and he immediately became a free agent, risking the dreams fans had of Tatupu, Hill and Curry playing on the same defense.

But that's what was seen Friday when the Seahawks opened their post-draft minicamp, a day after Hill signed a long-term deal after the Seahawks took the risk of seeing one of their top young linebacker depart.

"It's good to see those guys working together. It was great to see Leroy back out here," Seahawks coach Jim Mora said. "I didn't spend my whole practice watching those three, so I didn't see everything they did, but it was a good looking group."

Removing Hill's franchise designation was a calculated move by general manager Tim Ruskell. By lifting the one-year tender that would have paid Hill $8.3 million, Seattle was able following the draft to add an experienced, bigger cornerback in former Seahawk Ken Lucas, and signed veteran fullback Justin Griffith.

The risk was that Hill would be offended by the Seahawks move of making him a free agent at a time when other teams wouldn't have as much money available to spend and spurn any offers Ruskell might make.

Hill said plenty of interest came from others, but Seattle constantly badgered his agent, Todd France. The result was a six-year deal with a guaranteed $15.5 million, and on paper one of the best young linebacking corps in football.

"I still felt like I was going to come back. Even when they dropped it, they said, in good faith, we can still try to work out a contract," Hill said. "But they knew they sort of had to speed it up because other teams could come in. It was an interesting process."

Hill skipped Seattle's first minicamp last month and balked at signing the one-year tender, hoping instead for a long-term deal. But talks were stalled and Ruskell took the chance that removing the franchise designation might break the stalemate in getting a deal done.

While some might have been put off by the move, Hill understood the motives. He enjoyed being a free agent for a few days, but was relieved to have the security of an extended deal.

"I sort of smiled. I was a free agent. I couldn't really complain. And I chose not to sign (the tender), so it wasn't like, 'Oh, I'm crushed, my career is over,' or anything like that," Hill said. "It was a business decision for them. Like I said, they called and were like, 'We're still going to try to work out a contract. Don't worry about anything.' That's what happened."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 2, 2009

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