Seahawks Re-Sign Lewis, Investigate Smith

On Tuesday, the Seahawks invited one linebacker to a homecoming -- and talked to another who was close to home.

The team agreed to terms with D.D. Lewis, the former undrafted free agent out of Texas, on a one-year deal. Lewis played with the Seahawks from 2002 through 2006. As team president Tim Ruskell redefined the team's linebacker corps, Lewis was odd man out, first losing his starting job to 2005 draftee Leroy Hill and then signing with the Denver Broncos before the 2007 season. Denver released him after he played in five games for the team. In his six NFL seasons, Lewis has amassed 162 tackles in 53 games.

Lewis has been somewhat injury-prone, but he's a good backup signing as the Seahawks look to build their roster spots back up. He can play all three linebacker positions as a serviceable level and can help in coverage units. Backup linebackers Niko Koutouvides and Kevin Bentley signed with the Broncos and Houston Texans, respectively, this offseason.

Gig Harbor native Raonall Smith, a strong-side linebacker who was drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2003, visited the Seahawks on Tuesday. Smith went to Washington State and was highly regarded out of school for his incredible speed, but he had a slow start to his NFL career -- he played in only 14 games in his first two seasons. Smith spent 2006 and 2007 with the St. Louis Rams. He's put up 90 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 50 NFL games.

Tim Yotter, publisher of Viking Update, had this to say about Smith: "He's a guy who entered the league with a lot of physical ability as an outside linebacker, but it seemed like he was a bit slow to get comfortable with diagnosing plays at NFL speed. That may have improved with his additional years in the league since he left the Vikings, but I doubt he’ll ever be considered a full-time starter. He has the physical speed to sustain his career in the NFL, but he is likely a career backup."

The Seahawks also signed veteran defensive end/tackle Chris Cooper, who spent the 2006 training camp with Seattle. He has played with the Raiders, 49ers and Cardinals, and was cut by Arizona in February. He's been responsible for 132 tackles and 8.5 sacks in 72 games since 2001.

Another linebacker note -- BYU OLB Kelly Poppinga, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers linebacker Brady, has a private workout with the Seahawks on Wednesday, March 26. The Seahawks attended his Pro Day on March 13.

Per BYU Football: Poppinga leads the BYU roster and ranks sixth in the Mountain West Conference with 100 tackles in 2007, averaging 8.3 tackles per game and has recorded double-digit tackles in four games this season. He was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week after recording a career-high 17 tackles in the Cougars’ 27-22 win over TCU and totaled 15 tackles in BYU’s 35-16 win over Colorado State, including a career-high 13 solo tackles. He had an interception and 22-yard return against TCU and has seven tackles for a combined loss of 16 yards on the season, including a season- high three TFL’s at UCLA. Poppinga has been credited with three QB hurries and three pass break-up’s on the season and is averaging 9.5 tackles against MWC opponents. He is part of a defensive unit that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. (BYU’s rushing defense ranks ninth nationally, allowing 92.1 yards per game.)


Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET, a staff writer for Football Outsiders, and he writes NFL previews for the New York Sun. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.


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