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Some not-so-surprising surprises
Youth and age were served Saturday when the Seahawks made their roster moves to reach the league-mandated limit of 53 players.
Rookie defensive linemen Nick Reed and Michael Bennett earned spots with their solid efforts as 20 players were released, two veterans had their contracts terminated and cornerback Marcus Trufant was placed on the physically unable to perform list because of the same back situation that sidelined for all of training camp and the preseason.
Veteran kicker Olindo Mare also prevailed after his summer-long competition with Brandon Coutu. So did fourth-year wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who nailed down the fifth roster spot at his position with a strong showing in Thursday night’s final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.
Not as fortunate were safety Brian Russell and linebacker D.D. Lewis, who contracts were terminated. Russell started 32 games the past two seasons after being signed in free agency in 2007, while Lewis was a starter during the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl in 2005.
Actually, the Seahawks are at 52 players, so other moves can be expected.
Because Reed, Bennett and Derek Walker played so well during the preseason, the club retained 11 defensive linemen. Reed, a seventh-round draft choice, led the team with 4½ sacks, while Bennett and Walker combined for four.
Just how they fit into the mix during the regular season remains to be seen, as the club also is carrying backups Darryl Tapp, Lawrence Jackson, Red Bryant and Craig Terrill in addition to the starting unit of ends Cory Redding and Patrick Kerney and tackles Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane.
Waived with injury settlement
Terminated from Reserve/Injured
Placed on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform
Mare, 36, retained the job over Coutu, a seventh-round draft choice last year. The deciding factors were Mare’s ability to drive the ball into the end zone on kickoffs and the fact that he made 24 of 27 field goal attempts last season.
The club kept only five receivers, and Obomanu was the choice as the club released Courtney Taylor, Mike Hass and Logan Payne, and reached an injury settlement with Jordan Kent, who sprained his ankle in Thursday night’s final preseason game.
Obomanu, a seventh-round draft choice in 2006, was especially impressive in the finale against the Raiders. He caught a 38-yard touchdown pass, but also had a 10-yard punt return and dropped the Raiders punt returner for a 1-yard loss as a gunner on the punt coverage team.
Coach Jim Mora had said that ability to contribute on special teams would be vital for the receiver that would win the final spot behind starters Nate Burleson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch and rookie Deon Butler.
The club also kept six of its seven draft choices from this year. Linebacker Aaron Curry and right guard Max Unger, the top two picks, will be starters. Butler, the third-round pick, caught eight passes, including two for touchdowns. Sixth-round pick Mike Teel will be the No. 3 quarterback, while seventh-round pick Cameron Morrah is the third tight end.
Only safety Courtney Greene failed to stick, and he could be signed to the eight-man practice squad.
Trufant has been sidelined since injuring his back the week training camp opened. By going on PUP, he won’t be eligible to return until the Nov. 1 game against the Cowboys in Dallas. Josh Wilson has been starting in Trufant’s spot on the left side.
Lewis had been a valuable backup because of his ability to play all three linebacker positions. But Will Herring stepped into that role this summer, allowing the club to carry just six linebackers.
It was the performances of players like Reed, Bennett and Obomanu, as well as some of those players who were released, that made these final cuts so difficult.
“A lot of men in that room are making our job as an organization awfully tough because of the way they performed this preseason,” Mora said after the Raiders game.
“That’s a good thing, and I told those guys I was really proud of the way they played, the energy they showed, the passion they played with. You could tell that those guys cared.”
Some of the players released likely will return, because club can start compiling its practice squad once they clear waivers.