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Originally published Friday, March 28, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks sign veteran NFL kicker Olindo Mare

The Seahawks roster grew by a foot Thursday. A right foot, to be more specific, as the Seahawks signed kicker Olindo Mare, a free agent...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Seahawks roster grew by a foot Thursday.

A right foot, to be more specific, as the Seahawks signed kicker Olindo Mare, a free agent who was released by New Orleans in February. Mare is a 12-year NFL veteran and will be one option in Seattle's search for a replacement for Josh Brown, the kicker who left the Seahawks to sign with St. Louis on the first day of free agency.

The Seahawks sought to re-sign Brown, who won four games for them in 2006 with late field goals. Seattle's final offer didn't measure up to the Rams' five-year offer of $14.2 million, which included a $4 million signing bonus.

Mare's contract is for two years and totals $3.5 million, according to a report on the NFL's Web site. It's unknown what size signing bonus, if any, Mare received.

Expect the Seahawks also to bring in a young kicker as well. President Tim Ruskell said the team aggressively scouted for a college kicker, and he indicated before Thursday's signing of Mare that the position could be decided in training-camp competition.

"I could foresee a situation where we have a vet and a rookie in there fighting it out," Ruskell said Wednesday. "That would be the perfect world for us."

Mare has played 12 years in the NFL, spending 1996 on the Giants' practice squad and then going to Miami in 1997. He spent the next decade as the Dolphins' kicker.

He was traded to New Orleans in 2007 and played in 13 games for the Saints last season, but struggled early with a groin injury. He made only 10 of his 17 field-goal attempts, a career-worst 58 percent. He was placed on the injured list in December and subsequently underwent hip surgery.

Mare visited the Broncos earlier this week and reportedly received an offer. Instead, he opted to sign with Seattle on Thursday.

Mare is known for his strong leg on kickoffs, and he is the Dolphins' career leader in field goals made, but his accuracy declined in 2006 when he made 72 percent of his field-goal attempts and was traded to the Saints for a sixth-round draft choice last April.

Mare has made nearly 80 percent of his field-goal attempts over his career, but he hasn't kicked for a cold-climate team yet except for the season on the Giants' practice squad.

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

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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