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Originally published Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:41 PM

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Seahawks looking at John Abraham, former Falcons DE

Abraham was released by Atlanta after last season, when he led the team with 10 sacks. Abraham is scheduled to visit Seattle this week.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Seahawks tried to acquire defensive end John Abraham once before.

That was back in 2006, but Abraham decided then he would rather play for the Atlanta Falcons.

Seattle will take a look at Abraham again after the Falcons on Friday released the defensive end who led their team with 10 sacks last year. Abraham was scheduled to arrive in Seattle and meet with the Seahawks this week as the team gets a head start on its offseason shopping, which will accelerate with the start of free agency next week.

Improving the pass rush is a priority for the Seahawks, who had 36 sacks last season, tied for 18th in the league. More than half of those sacks came from Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin, who led all rookies with eight sacks. Clemons is coming back from reconstructive knee surgery after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Seahawks' first-round playoff game at Washington.

Abraham has been one of the league's most consistent pass-rushers, but he turns 35 in May, and the fact Atlanta cut him a year after re-signing him to a relatively modest three-year, $16.7 million contract suggests he is probably more of a situational pass-rusher at this point in his career.

That could be just what Seattle is looking for, though, as Abraham could provide veteran insurance while Clemons recovers and Irvin progresses toward becoming an every-down player.

When Seattle pursued Abraham before, the defensive end was designated as the Jets' franchise player. The Seahawks and Jets agreed on the trade compensation for Abraham, but Seattle couldn't reach an agreement with Abraham on a new contract, and he decided to play for Atlanta. The Falcons then met the Jets' asking price to finish the deal.

Abraham played the next seven seasons for the Falcons, averaging more than nine sacks per season.

NFL teams can't begin signing free agents from other teams until March 12, but because Abraham was released by Atlanta, he is free to sign with another team right away.

Earlier this month, the Seahawks took a look at Cullen Jenkins, a defensive lineman who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @dannyoneil

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