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Originally published Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 2:10 PM

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Seahawks sign RB Edgerrin James

Announcement that appeared imminent Monday wasn't announced until Tuesday evening

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Edgerrin James plays running back, but his addition to the Seattle Seahawks proceed at a crawl and consumed pretty much all of a Tuesday.

His agent sat in the lobby at the Seahawks' headquarters as the team practiced Tuesday morning, while T.J. Duckett, the player who James will replace, was absent from the workout. The league's official Web site even included a picture of James wearing Seahawks colors.

For more than 24 hours, all signs pointed to James' arrival, and on Tuesday evening there was finally a signature to go with it. James signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks. Seattle cut Duckett to make room for James on the 80-man roster.

James ranks No. 11 in NFL career rushing yardage. He's also 31 and coming off the worst rushing total in his 10 NFL seasons. He started only seven games for Arizona last season.

But James is a proven runner between the tackles, a great blocker in blitz pickups and someone who gives Seattle a player capable of stepping in should starter Julius Jones be injured as he was in last Saturday's exhibition game against Denver.

Duckett carried six times and averaged fewer than 3 yards. Last year, he was Seattle's short-yardage specialist and goal-line vulture. He scored a team-high eight touchdowns and was a big reason Seattle converted 17 of its 20 third-and-one plays.

Tuesday night's transaction ended a day that was awkward at times. James' agreement with Seattle was first reported Monday afternoon. The player he was expected to replace wasn't on the practice field, and James' agent was in the lobby for a chunk of practice.

However, the Seahawks made no change to the roster and said there was nothing to announce. Coach Jim Mora was not available to answer questions after practice.

The Seahawks announced a transaction in mid-afternoon. It just wasn't the transaction everyone anticipated. Seattle released veteran guard Grey Ruegamer and claimed 24-year-old Brian De La Puente off waivers from Kansas City, but swapping out reserve offensive linemen wasn't what people expected.

James was the one everyone was asking about.

"I think he's going to come in and help us," tackle Sean Locklear said. "I think he's going to fit in good with our offense."

James will join a backfield led by Jones, with Justin Forsett as the No. 3 back. Jones said his focus is on returning from a thigh bruise that kept him out most of last week, not how carries will be divided up with James added to the roster.

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"I do know that whatever happens doesn't have any impact on me," Jones said. "We'll wait and see, and in a day or two it will all work itself out."

Seattle signed Duckett last year, paying him a $2 million signing bonus and another $2 million roster bonus this year. Cutting Duckett saves Seattle the $2.5 million he was scheduled to make. Financial terms of James' deal were not available on a day that began with all signs pointing to James' imminent arrival on the roster and finally resulted in a signature on the contract.

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

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