Seahawks courting Jamie Sharper
Seahawks wine and dine LB Sharper
Versatile veteran could fill depleted middle or outside
Friday, April 8, 2005
By CLARE FARNSWORTH
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
KIRKLAND -- The Seahawks have taken a pizza-and-beer approach to free agency, opting for lower-priced players since the signing period began March 2.
The recruiting menu was upgraded to champagne and caviar yesterday, when president of football operations Tim Ruskell and linebackers coach John Marshall piled into a limousine at 5 p.m. for a dinner rendezvous with free-agent linebacker Jamie Sharper.
But Sharper, 30, is not just any free agent. He has played middle linebacker and outside linebacker in his eight-year NFL career, and the Seahawks have a need at both spots after they released Anthony Simmons and Orlando Huff signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
Sharper also visited the Seahawks in 2000, but then re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens. The Houston Texans selected Sharper in the 2002 expansion draft, but they released him last week in a move that freed almost $5 million under their salary cap.
He met Wednesday with the Cincinnati Bengals, whose coach, Marvin Lewis, is the former defensive coordinator for the Ravens. Sharper also is drawing interest from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns. (Note: Lewis was misidentified in the original version of this article.)
The Seahawks obviously plan to make their best pitch to Sharper, as well, as they continue to try to upgrade a defense that ranked 26th in the league last season. He will visit the team's headquarters today to meet with other coaches and staff members.
Sharper did not miss a start in three seasons with the Texans, when he played middle linebacker. He missed only one start in five seasons while playing outside linebacker for the Ravens.
HAWK TALK: Cornerback B.J. Tucker, one of nine players allocated to the NFL Europe spring league by the Seahawks, was named defensive player of the week after returning an interception for a touchdown in the Amsterdam Admirals' 24-14 win over the Rhein Fire. Two other Seahawks played key roles in the victory. Gibran Hamden completed 12 of 19 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns, one a 49-yarder to tight end Tony Donald.