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Originally published August 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 31, 2008 at 1:30 AM

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Seahawks | Rocky Bernard, Jordan Babineaux to miss opener

Babineaux was fined an additional game check for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Bernard was fined one game without pay for violating the league's personal-conduct policy.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Starting defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and defensive back Jordan Babineaux will miss the Seahawks' Sept. 7 opener at Buffalo after the NFL announced suspensions of both Saturday.

Babineaux was fined an additional game check for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Bernard was fined one game without pay for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. Both will be eligible to return to the team on Sept. 8, the day after the Buffalo game, and do not count on the 53-man active roster which the Seahawks set Saturday.

The disciplinary action against Bernard stems from his arrest in April on investigation of domestic violence. Bernard, a seven-year starter, is Seattle's most tenured defensive starter and Babineaux is a key reserve who plays cornerback, safety and on special teams.

Babineaux, a fifth-year pro, appealed his suspension when the league informed him and his agent two weeks ago of the impending consequence of an incident involving him. The matter, which was not disclosed, took place several months ago, and Babineaux tried to deal with it quietly and through the league.

Babineaux's agent called the incident that led to the suspension a mistake, and that Babineaux admitted to it quickly and took corrective measures to address it. But the league decided to go through with the suspension and fine.

Bernard and Babineaux will return, but 20 other players won't be on the active roster when the first regular-season practice is held Monday at team headquarters in Renton. Former UW defensive tackle Larry Tripplett and ex-WSU wide receiver Michael Bumpus are among them.

Wide receiver Ben Obomanu and defensive lineman Chris Cooper were placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons. Obomanu suffered a broken collar bone in Friday night's exhibition finale, and Cooper had been unable to return from a leg injury.

Tripplett and wide receiver Bryan Gilmore had their veteran contracts terminated. Mercer Island native David Kirtman, a fullback and former fifth-round pick, and Bumpus were among players waived. The others were: defensive back Jamar Adams, quarterback Dalton Bell, defensive tackle Kevin Brown, center Ben Claxton, defensive back Marquis Floyd, punter Reggie Hodges, safety Kelin Johnson, center Nick Jones, guard Pat Murray, tight end Joe Newton, linebacker Dallas Sartz, wide receiver Trent Shelton, defensive end Nu'u Tafisi and tackle Kyle Williams.

The suspension of Babineaux and Bernard allowed the team to keep both kickers, Olindo Mare and Brandon Coutu, for at least another week. The team figures to release one of them, plus another player, after the season opener.

Wide receiver Jordan Kent and linebacker David Hawthorne, two young players who had good training camps and exhibition games, made the team. So did wide receiver Logan Payne, as the Seahawks kept six receivers because of injuries to veterans Deion Branch and Bobby Engram.

Rookie running back Justin Forsett also survived the cuts on the strength of his play in the second exhibition game. Two defensive ends thought to be battling for one job remained -- Jason Babin and Baraka Atkins -- at least for now.

The Seahawks can begin signing players to their practice squad tomorrow after those released around the league have cleared waivers. The practice squad will be composed of eight players plus offensive lineman Samuel Gutekunst, an NFL international developmental player.

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

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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