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Hawks reportedly interested in Buffalo's Travis Henry
By Josť Miguel Romero
Seattle Times staff reporter
Travis Henry asked for a trade after last season.
Despite a report, the Seahawks did not confirm that they have recently talked to the Buffalo Bills about trading for running back Travis Henry.
The purported acquisition makes some sense, but isn't likely to take place. Tennessee and Jacksonville are more likely destinations for Henry.
The Seahawks, according to a report on ESPN.com, spoke to Bills executives about Henry after Seattle running back Shaun Alexander told The Times last week that he does not intend to sign the one-year franchise tender without having reached an agreement on a multiyear deal beforehand.
Henry, 26, asked for a trade from the Bills soon after the 2004 season ended, having lost his starting job to Willis McGahee. Injury problems for Henry led to the decision to go with McGahee.
The Seahawks were one of several teams that talked to the Bills about a trade for Henry before the draft in April. At that point, the Seahawks were trying to see what they could get in a trade involving Alexander.
But no trade materialized, as teams with the biggest need for a premier running back picked them in what was a rich draft for that position.
Alexander was voted to the Pro Bowl last season after his finest NFL campaign, in which he rushed for 1,696 yards and 16 touchdowns. After the season, his original contract expired, and the Seahawks named him the franchise player. The designation severely restricted Alexander from seeking free-agent offers from other teams.
Henry could be an insurance policy of sorts for the Seahawks if Alexander does not sign the $6.32 million tender and report to the team, which isn't expected to happen during training camp.
Henry told The Buffalo News that he has moved all of his personal belongings to his offseason home in Florida and has no intention of going back to Buffalo. Bills GM Tom Donahoe is adamant about getting at least a third-round draft pick for Henry.
Henry is entering the last year of his original contract and is scheduled to make $1.5 million in 2005. He played in only 10 games and rushed for 326 yards last season, but is regarded as a tough runner who plays hurt. Henry had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2002 and 2003.
If Alexander doesn't show up for camp and his boycott of the team lasts into the regular season, acquiring Henry has merit. Although the team can re-open serious contract talks with Alexander and his agents Friday, no signing appears imminent.
NFL rules stipulate that Alexander must sign the tender before entering serious negotiations on a long-term deal. The Seahawks risk losing the ability to franchise another player for the length of Alexander's contract if an agreement is reached soon after the tender is signed.
Both Jacksonville and Tennessee have running back issues. The Jaguars have questions about the health of Fred Taylor and have recently been in contact with the Bills, and the Titans need a reliable backup for Chris Brown. Neither team appears willing to part with more than a fourth-round draft pick.