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Saturday, March 27, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By José Miguel Romero
The Seahawks made it clear they wanted defensive tackle Norman Hand to take a pay cut.
Hand wouldn't budge, so the Seahawks released him yesterday.
But there remains the possibility that Hand could end up accepting a reduction in salary and ultimately return to the Seahawks, provided no other team is willing to pay him the $3 million he was scheduled to make in 2004.
Hand and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, asked the Seahawks to allow Hand to go out and solicit offers from other teams, even though Hand has a year left on the contract he signed with the Seahawks when they traded a sixth-round draft pick for him last April.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Thursday that the team was talking to Hand about his contract and that he would like to have Hand on the team. Hand is rehabilitating the torn biceps muscle in his right arm, which caused him to be placed on injured reserve last November and ended his season after he played only six games.
The Seahawks have made an unspecified offer to Hand that is presumably well below $3 million. If Hand does not return, Seattle is left with only three true defensive tackles with experience Cedric Woodard, Rashad Moore and Rocky Bernard.
The Seahawks could trade their first-round pick in next month's draft, the 23rd overall, to try to move up in the draft and select an impact defensive tackle. But the team's strategy seems to be picking the best player available.
"Even though it appears that the defensive side of the ball will be our point of emphasis, I kind of think the draft will go a certain way for us," Holmgren said. "Now, as far as moving (up), we will always think about doing that. We always have and we always will. We're picking a little later, so unless you wanted to kind of kick in some real stuff there, it's hard to move up real far."
OT Matt Hill, LBs Orlando Huff and D.D. Lewis and CBs Ken Lucas and Marcus Trufant had offseason shoulder surgery and could be out until training camp.
The Seahawks are still interested in re-signing CB Willie Williams, an unrestricted free agent. But they have not heard from their only other unsigned free agent, DE Lamar King.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
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