Seahawks Move On And Sign CB Lucas, FB Griffith

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The Seahawks are prepared to move onwithout starting outside linebacker Leroy Hill.

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

"We continue to go forward," Ruskell said.

Seattle rescinded its 2009 franchise tag on Hill hours after itselected outside linebacker Aaron Curry fourth overall in the NFLdraft Saturday. That made Hill a free agent instead of guaranteeinghim $8.3 million in Seattle. It also freed $8.3 million from theSeahawks' 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 productivecornerback with his 6-foot, 205-pound size since.

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

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

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

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

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

Griffith is a proven receiver out of the backfield, somethingSeattle 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 withone touchdown.

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

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

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

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

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

Now that they have yanked the tag, the Seahawks have left Hillseeking a multimillion dollar, multiyear deal with teams that havealready signed veteran free agents and are trying to sign rookieswhile staying under the salary cap.

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