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Originally published Monday, May 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Linebacker D.D. Lewis hopes to fit back into Seahawks' system

There is an air of satisfaction around D.D. Lewis these days. One can see it in the omnipresent smile on his face. Lewis, a veteran linebacker...

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — There is an air of satisfaction around D.D. Lewis these days. One can see it in the omnipresent smile on his face.

Lewis, a veteran linebacker for the Seahawks, is simply happy to be back with the team with which he began his career in 2002. He signed a free-agent deal with Seattle in March after half a season with the Denver Broncos, the team he left the Seahawks for after the 2006 season.

"It was a good opportunity to come back here," Lewis said. "I already know the system here. It's good to come back."

Lewis made the Seahawks in 2002 as an undrafted free agent from Texas. He played in 31 regular-season games his first two seasons and worked his way from special-teams contributor to 12 starts in 2005. But shoulder and toe injuries limited his availability throughout his career, especially in 2004 and 2006.

Things just didn't seem to feel right with the Broncos, Lewis said, as he had a hard time getting used to their defense after spending so much time in Seattle's. He was released in mid-October.

Now Lewis feels healthy and re-energized. He figures to have an inside track on a 53-man roster spot because of his special teams acumen and knowledge of defensive coordinator John Marshall's defense, and might well end up as Lofa Tatupu's backup at middle linebacker, though Lewis has always played outside.

Familiarity with teammates and the organization is also a plus for Lewis.

"Everything we do here makes sense, especially defensive-wise," Lewis said. "I know my role as a backup guy. I just want to work hard and make sure I contribute in any way possible."

The only thing left for Lewis to do, besides making the team, is to bring his family to the area.

"That's the only thing that's killing me right now," he said.

See ya in June

The players' locker room at team headquarters got a lot roomier Sunday after all of the rookies who made their practice debuts over the weekend vacated the premises.

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Most of the Seahawks rookies figure to return to the area by June 2, in time for the start of the next team minicamp. A few will not, because the NFL stipulates that a rookie cannot return to his pro team after the postdraft minicamp until his school conducts graduation ceremonies.

That means no June camp for former UW players Anthony Russo and Corey Williams, but ex-Washington State wide receiver Michael Bumpus should be OK to return. Bumpus is one of the undrafted college free agents Seattle signed after the draft.

"They throw a lot at you as a rookie," Bumpus said of his first set of NFL practices.

Bumpus came away impressed with the willing attitude of the Seahawks veterans to impart their knowledge to the young players. He took something from many of them, and by Sunday, they were cheering him from the sideline ("Yeah, Bump!") whenever he made a play.

"Not what I expected," Bumpus said. "You see these guys on TV and think they're established guys who don't have to take care of the rookies. Complete opposite. Bobby Engram probably taught me the most."

From Bumpus to first-round draft pick Lawrence Jackson — the kids had plenty to take in.

"I feel like my last practice was better than the other ones and I kept getting better and better," said Jackson, a defensive end. "You hear about the speed of the [NFL] game and the linemen just get out of their stance a lot faster than they do in college, and that was surprising."

Notes

• The Seahawks reconvene today for the start of a voluntary veteran camp.

• WR P.K. Sam, who is with the Seahawks for a tryout, did not practice Sunday — it was the first day he missed. Williams was still hurt, and DT Howard Green was watching with a baseball cap instead of a helmet after he was injured Friday.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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