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News » Seahawks move on; sign CB Lucas, FB Griffith

Seahawks move on; sign CB Lucas, FB Griffith

Seahawks move on; sign CB Lucas, FB Griffith
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - The Seahawks are prepared to move on without starting outside linebacker Leroy Hill.

Seattle brought back veteran cornerback Ken Lucas and signed free-agent fullback Justin Griffith with one-year contracts Monday, about two hours after team president Tim Ruskell said the Seahawks are having "just conversations" with Hill's agent on a possible long-term deal.

"We continue to go forward," Ruskell said.

Seattle rescinded its 2009 franchise tag on Hill hours after it selected outside linebacker Aaron Curry fourth overall in the NFL draft Saturday. That made Hill a free agent instead of guaranteeing him $8.3 million in Seattle. It also freed $8.3 million from the Seahawks' payroll, money the team used to sign Lucas and Griffith.

Lucas was released last month by Carolina in a salary-cap move. The 30-year-old played his first four NFL seasons with Seattle (2001-04), and the Seahawks have been trying to find a productive cornerback with his 6-foot, 205-pound size since.

They tried veteran Kelly Herndon in 2005. In 2006 they drafted Kelly Jennings in the first round. The 5-11, 180-pound Jennings has often been dominated by bigger receivers and is currently recovering from shoulder surgery.

In 2007, Seattle drafted Josh Wilson in the second round. He has primarily been the nickel back in passing situations. Wilson is fast, but is generously listed at 5-9 and 192.

Lucas has played in 122 career games with 106 starts, 24 interceptions and 100 passes defensed.

Griffith was a fourth-round pick by Atlanta in 2003. He spent the first four years of his career with the Falcons, the final three for current Seahawks coach Jim Mora, then signed with Oakland in 2007.

During a minicamp this month, Seattle had one fullback on its roster with NFL game experience. Owen Schmitt played in 15 games as a rookie last season.

Griffith is a proven receiver out of the backfield, something Seattle needed to complement runners Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett. He has 122 receptions and 11 touchdown catches in 83 career games, 61 of them starts. He has also rushed 90 times for 407 yards with one touchdown.

As for Hill, agent Todd France told The Associated Press on Sunday night: "We're in communication with the team. Negotiations are ongoing," for a possible long-term contract with Seattle.

Hill chose not to sign the team's tender of $8.3 million that Seattle was required to offer once it put the franchise tag on him. Then the playmaker chose to stay away from the voluntary minicamp a few weeks ago.

Ruskell said he would still like to re-sign Hill to form a dynamic linebacking corps with Curry and Lofa Tatupu. And Mora said he spoke to Hill on Sunday and the player told him he wanted to remain a Seahawk.

But Ruskell added the Seahawks would not have rescinded Hill's franchise tag if they weren't prepared to lose the four-year veteran from Clemson to free agency.

Hill is shopping in a tough market. By placing the tag on him in February, the Seahawks essentially took him out of the prime free-agent period.

Now that they have yanked the tag, the Seahawks have left Hill seeking a multimillion dollar, multiyear deal with teams that have already signed veteran free agents and are trying to sign rookies while staying under the salary cap.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 28, 2009

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