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News » Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-02-24


Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-02-24


Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-02-24
Seattle team president and general manager Tim Ruskell said the team's top priority during the offseason was figuring out what to do with free-agent-to-be linebacker Leroy Hill. The 26-year-old was highly thought of by both the organization and his teammates. But after being charged with marijuana possession last month, the team had second thoughts on whether they would keep Hill in the fold.


Hill eased Ruskell's concerns enough that Seattle assigned the team's non-franchise tender to Hill, assuring that he will be with the team next season. Hill will receive the $8.3 million, one-year tender offer from the Seahawks while negotiations continue on a longer-term deal.

"We're not exactly close but it's been good-faith negotiating," Ruskell said. "And this allows us to keep doing that, while protecting our rights to the player."

Ruskell said it was imperative that the team have a face-to-face conversation with Hill after his transgression in Atlanta before the team made the decision to franchise him. Ruskell wanted to see if Hill was sincere and apologetic, and they also wanted the new coaches to meet Hill to make sure that Hill fit the new system.

"I had to see him face-to-face and hear that from him and see that sincerity, which I saw, and other people saw, including Jim Mora," Ruskell said. "That was very important.

"Had he said, 'No, I'm not coming in,' we'd be going down a different path right now."

With Hill likely receiving a hefty pay raise, all three Seattle linebackers, which include Pro Bowlers Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson, are now at the top of the pay scale.

Ruskell said that's not the ideal blueprint for his team's payroll scale, but linebacker play is the strength of the team.

"It is out of whack," he said. "If I had designed my perfect team in terms of the players and the way the money would flow, it wouldn't all flow right there. But you don't always get those choices. And you don't want to let go of good football players."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 24, 2009

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Brandon Mebane Name: Brandon Mebane
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