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Originally published Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 3:26 PM

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Brian Russell out, Lawyer Milloy in as Seahawks free safety

Russell and D.D. Lewis are among 23 players released to drop the roster to 53

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seattle subtracted 23 players from its roster Saturday, but the addition of safety Lawyer Milloy was the Seahawks' biggest news of the day.

Milloy has reached an agreement with the Seahawks, a homecoming for the 13-year NFL veteran who is from Tacoma and played at Washington.

Seattle did not officially announce the move, but it did clear a space for him on the 53-man roster by terminating the contract of Brian Russell, a two-year starter at free safety.

Terms of Milloy's agreement weren't known.

"It's not about money," Milloy said. "This is where I want to be."

Milloy played for the Atlanta Falcons the past three seasons, including 2006 when Jim Mora was the Falcons coach. Before coming to Atlanta, Milloy played in Buffalo and New England, which drafted him out of Washington in 1996 and where he won a Super Bowl.

Milloy adds a veteran presence to a secondary that will be missing cornerback Marcus Trufant until at least November.

Trufant was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list because of a disk injury in his back. He does not count against the 53-man limit, but he is not eligible to be activated until after the Seahawks' sixth game. The team then has a three-week window to activate Trufant.

With Trufant ineligible to play until at least the Nov. 1 game at Dallas, Seattle kept Travis Fisher on its roster as the fourth cornerback. Seattle kept Olindo Mare as its kicker, releasing Brandon Coutu.

Seattle terminated two veteran contracts: Russell and linebacker D.D. Lewis, who was displaced by the progress of young linebackers Will Herring and David Hawthorne.

Defensive end Baraka Atkins, who played two years with the Seahawks, was beaten out for a roster spot by rookie Nick Reed, a seventh-round pick, and undrafted rookie free agents Derek Walker and Michael Bennett.

Seattle might not be done adjusting its roster, however. Left tackle Walter Jones is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and while he's obviously on the roster, he may not be ready for the regular-season opener. Sean Locklear, Ray Willis and Kyle Williams are the only other tackles on the roster.

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The biggest change comes in the secondary, though. Russell was signed in 2007 along with Deon Grant to shore up the back end of Seattle's defense. Seattle allowed the fewest touchdown passes in the league in 2007, but gave up the most passing yardage in the league last season. Seattle signed Ken Lucas, an eight-year NFL veteran, after the draft and opened competition at free safety between Russell and Jordan Babineaux over the offseason.

Russell started 32 games with Seattle, and intercepted one pass in two seasons. He was scheduled to make $2.1 million this season.

Babineaux could step into the free-safety role. Milloy can play both safety positions.

Notes

• Released: S Jamar Adams, Atkins, Coutu, G Brian De La Puente, CB Marquis Floyd, T Na'Shan Goddard, S Courtney Greene, WR Mike Hass, CB Kevin Hobbs, FB David Kirtman, RB Devin Moore, CB Nate Ness, TE Joe Newton, WR Logan Payne, LB Dave Philistin, T Andre Ramsey, T William Robinson, QB Jeff Rowe, WR Courtney Taylor. Veteran contracts terminated: Lewis, Russell. Waived with an injury settlement: WR Jordan Kent. Terminated from reserve/injured with settlement: OL Cory Withrow.

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

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