Seahawks cut 20 players, including three veterans

  • Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Sunday, September 2, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

By Scott M. Johnson

Herald Writer

KIRKLAND – The addition of Bobby Engram late last week meant one of the Seattle Seahawks receivers would get caught in the numbers game, and on Sunday third-year veteran Karsten Bailey was the one who felt the consequences.

Bailey was one of three veteran Seahawks who were cut Sunday, when the team had to trim its roster to 53 players. Also released were six-year veteran Frank Beede and nine-year veteran Matt LaBounty, both of whom were with Seattle before coach Mike Holmgren arrived in 1999. Only 13 players remain on the team from the pre-Holmgren era.

Bailey entered training camp as a starting wide receiver, but was only keeping the position warm for rookie Koren Robinson. Bailey caught four passes in the preseason, including a 12-yard touchdown reception in Saturday’s win over New Orleans. That touchdown, which included a dive into the end zone over two Saints defenders, proved to be Bailey’s final catch in a Seahawks uniform.

In 11 regular-season games, Bailey caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown over two injury-plagued seasons. He was a third-round pick in the 1999 NFL draft.

Despite Bailey’s release, the Seahawks kept seven receivers: Engram, Robinson, Darrell Jackson, James Williams, Alex Bannister, Fabien Bownes and Charlie Rogers. Bownes and Rogers are primarily special teams players.

Special teams also factored into the decision to keep eight linebackers. Isaiah Kacyvenski, Marcus Bell, Tim Terry and Orlando Huff will provide depth behind starters Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland and Anthony Simmons. Long snapper J.P. Darche is also listed as a linebacker.

Also released were two draft picks: quarterback Josh Booty (sixth round) and defensive lineman Kris Kocurek (seventh round). Both are candidates for the five-man practice squad, which will be announced today.

Booty and Kocurek joined 1999 sixth-round pick Steve Johnson as the only rookie draft choices who have been released during the Holmgren era. Bailey is the first veteran released that has been drafted by Holmgren.

The biggest surprise to make the team was tight end Russell Stewart, a rookie free agent from Stanford who also attended Newport High School in Bellevue. He beat out James Hill and Scot Osborne, both of whom were with the team last year, for the third tight end position behind Christian Fauria and Itula Mili. Stewart was tied for second on the team with seven catches in preseason games.

The Seahawks made 20 cuts in all Sunday. The others were: defensive tackle Joe Brown, wide receiver Kerwin Cook, cornerback Wade Davis, linebacker Dwan Epps, tackle Steve Estes, fullback Lloyd Garden, running back Jay Graham, kicker Shayne Graham, wide receiver Dwaune Jones, guard Eric King, tackle Chad Overhauser and running back Rodnick Phillips.

LaBounty has been with Seattle since 1996, primarily as a reserve defensive end. The 32-year-old missed four games last season because of a family emergency that forced him to return to his Northern California home.

LaBounty lost out to younger players Antonio Cochran and John Hilliard because of a combination of salary and versatility. He was scheduled to make $850,000 in base salary this season, $250,000 more than Cochran and Hilliard combined, and was not able to play the inside position as consistently as the younger defensive linemen.

Beede, 28, spent his first five NFL seasons with the Seahawks, earning eight starts while playing in 46 games. His release was facilitated by the addition of three rookies on the offensive line, including starting left guard Steve Hutchinson.

The players currently on the roster aren’t guaranteed to be there when the season opens Sunday in Cleveland. The team is still looking for help at cornerback, and will probably sign a free agent or make a trade sometime today or Tuesday. The Seahawks could not add any new players without releasing someone from their current roster.

Notes: The team had no update on the condition of cornerback Ike Charlton, who suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s preseason finale. … ESPN reported Sunday that former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy is expected to retire. He reportedly turned down offers from the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets. Kennedy played his entire 11-year career with the Seahawks until they released him earlier this year. … The Seahawks will take today off before resuming practices Tuesday. Their season opener is Sunday at 10 a.m. in Cleveland.

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