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Originally published Friday, September 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Notebook | Seahawks, in rare move, carry two kickers

The Seahawks have made plenty of roster moves over the first three weeks of the season, but rookie kicker Brandon Coutu remains even though its rare for NFL teams to carry two kickers on the active roster.

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Brandon Coutu bides his time on the Seahawks sideline during practices and games, watching and waiting. Hoping to get an opportunity.

At the end of every day, though, the young kicker knows this: He might not be playing, but at least he's on an NFL roster.

That's because the Seahawks, with all of their turnover and turmoil at the wide-receiver position and all of the changes to their 53-man active roster since the season began, have never made a move with Coutu. That's a testament to what they think of the seventh-round draft pick's ability and future and their unwillingness to part with him and allow other NFL teams the chance to sign him.

The Seahawks already have their starting kicker in veteran Olindo Mare. With rare exception, teams carry just one kicker, so a move with Coutu could have been made so the team could add wide receiver Keary Colbert. The Seahawks traded with Denver to obtain Colbert on Tuesday, and had to release a player at another position to make room for him.

The player sent packing was defensive end Jason Babin, a veteran with four years of NFL experience. Coutu remained.

"The feeling is we have a veteran kicker who is very good, and we have a good, young kicker with a bright future," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "It gets a little dicey when you have roster moves to make. But the fact we have another kicker is no reflection on Olindo. He's doing fine. He's kicking the ball well."

Coutu, who made five field goals in one exhibition game last month, is glad to be a Seahawk.

"Hopefully they won't be keeping me around for nothing," Coutu said. "If not, I respect them keeping me around as long as they can."

Coutu takes it as a compliment that he remains, considering the circumstances. He's learning from Mare and realizes he needs to get better, while readily admitting he'd rather be kicking in games.

"I know that there's not many teams that would keep two kickers," Coutu said. "There's a lot of guys out there that would like to be in my position, as well. ... You never know what's going to happen. It's a long season."

Mare makes good

If Mare keeps kicking the way he is, Coutu might not ever see the field this season. Mare has four touchbacks in two games — Josh Brown had 13 all of last season — and has made all four of his field-goal attempts.

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"Jimmy Johnson [Mare's coach in Miami] told me one time, 'You kick it off as far as you can. You make your field goals and keep your mouth shut, and you'll probably play 15 years.' So far he's been on pretty much," Mare said.

Mare is in his 13th NFL season, his first with Seattle. The field goals are important, but Holmgren is especially happy about Mare's ability to kick the ball into the end zone.

"The field goals and all that stuff was almost dead even in training camp," Holmgren said of the competition between Mare and Coutu. "Starting the drives at the 20-yard line is a big deal if you can consistently make the other team do that. They're both good, and the veteran guy this time got it."

Mare is trying to stay in one place for a while. He's brought his family to the area, enrolled his kids in school and gotten them involved in the local Boys & Girls Club, and is enjoying living in downtown Bellevue.

"We walk everywhere. All five of us," Mare said. "I like the fact that I can do whatever I want to do."

Notes

• WR Koren Robinson left practice for 28 minutes Thursday, and upon returning to the field, did not have his gear on and sat out the final few minutes of the session. He was placed on the team's daily injury report with an unspecified knee problem but didn't appear to be limping. Robinson, signed only Tuesday, didn't finish Wednesday's practice, either.

• DT Rocky Bernard missed all of Thursday's practice with a hip injury. LT Walter Jones (back) was held out, as was CB Kelly Jennings with a broken rib. RT Sean Locklear (knee) took part in all of practice.

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

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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