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Originally published Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks

Hawks notebook: Seattle considering ex-Bucs safety Howell

The Seahawks are believed to be interested in signing John Howell, a safety who has spent his first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Seahawks are believed to be interested in signing John Howell, a safety who has spent his first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Howell, 27, recently visited with the Seahawks, and his agent said Seattle is one of several teams to look into signing the 6-foot, 210-pound unrestricted free agent. But the Seahawks aren't likely to reach a deal with Howell until next month because they must first clear room under the salary cap.

Howell would probably not make more than the one-year veteran minimum for his experience level, $540,000, if he signs. Still, the Seahawks would have to presumably release another player to come up with that sum.

Cornerback Bobby Taylor, who played only half the 2004 season because of a chronically sore right knee, appears the most likely candidate to be released to create cap room after June 1, when NFL teams can release a player without his contract counting as much against this year's salary cap.

A former fourth-round draft pick out of Colorado State, Howell started six games and played in all 16 for Tampa Bay last season. He's more of a strong safety who would likely be a backup and contributor on special teams for the Seahawks.

The Buccaneers might also like to re-sign Howell but they have their own salary-cap concerns, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune.

The Seahawks already have two former Bucs on their roster, defensive tackle Chuck Darby and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius. Both have ties to new team president Tim Ruskell, as does Howell, whom Ruskell helped draft in 2001 when Ruskell headed the Buccaneers' personnel department.

Notes

• The Seahawks hope to have free agent DE-LB Peter Boulware in Kirkland for a visit this week. The former Pro Bowler was released by Baltimore two weeks ago.

• DT Rocky Bernard has signed his restricted free-agent tender and will make $656,000 this season.

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

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