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Originally published Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Hawks notebook: Manuel to start for ailing Hamlin

While the Seahawks expressed shock and well wishes for their hospitalized teammate, safety Ken Hamlin, the business of football continued...

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — While the Seahawks expressed shock and well wishes for their hospitalized teammate, safety Ken Hamlin, the business of football continued uninterrupted yesterday.

The team went through its normal conditioning and attended meetings minus Hamlin, who was injured in a fight outside a Seattle nightclub early yesterday morning. Hamlin is out indefinitely, and Marquand Manuel will move into the starting free safety role for at least the next week.

The Seahawks host Dallas on Sunday, and Manuel, a top special-teams contributor who filled in for Michael Boulware at strong safety at St. Louis two weeks ago when Boulware left the game with an injury, is ready to step in.

"You just play football," he said. "I'm prepared to play every week. It's unfortunate that it had to happen like this, but I have to go in and do exactly the same thing and get the job done."

Coach Mike Holmgren called Manuel a "150 percent go-getter-type guy."

"He has really honed his skills as a safety," Holmgren said. "I think he is prepared to step in there and do this. We need him to be."

The Seahawks also expect to get cornerback Andre Dyson back from a hamstring injury that forced him out of the St. Louis game. If needed, cornerback Jordan Babineaux can move to safety, and punt returner Jimmy Williams is the fifth cornerback on the roster.

Lock-ed in?

Holmgren admitted he has a difficult decision to make on the offensive line, with Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack set to return to practice this week.

Womack came back from a triceps injury to play sparingly against St. Louis for the first time this season, only to injure his quadriceps in that game and miss the Houston game. Now Womack, the team's projected starter at right tackle when the season began, is ready to do contact drills.

But Sean Locklear is more than holding his own at right tackle in Womack's place, and it's hard to imagine a change on a line that is coming off its best game of the season — the Seahawks gained 320 yards rushing against Houston.

"I need to see Chop come back and be able to practice hard and not have any aches and pains," Holmgren said. "Right now, I am a little bit reluctant to move Sean Locklear out of there because he is playing well. He's getting better.

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"Having Pork Chop back ... gives us great flexibility and it gives me a much greater comfort zone because he can play every position on the offensive line except center. We are not there yet to make that decision."

Note

• FB Mack Strong, who had chest and shoulder injuries that forced him out at halftime, is expected to play this week. Holmgren didn't report any other injuries from Sunday.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

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