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Thursday, January 5, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks

Hawk Notes: Hamlin provides support from sideline

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since just before suffering serious head injuries in a fight at a downtown Seattle nightclub in October.

He was limited to fielding questions only about football. But time and rest have apparently healed all physical wounds, as well as those Hamlin suffered in his heart and mind when not able to play football and be with teammates on the field.

"I'm too much of a competitor to not want to be put out on the field," Hamlin said, "but I'm enjoying every win we're getting and whatever I can help with I try to. But definitely I miss not being out there."

Hamlin looks well. He has been out to several practices and had attended games since his recovery. He was placed on injured reserve two weeks after the incident in Pioneer Square but continues to hang around teammates as they prepare for the playoffs.

Hamlin said he was "definitely good," when asked how he was feeling physically.

"They keep me off the field but I don't think they can keep me off the sidelines," Hamlin said. "I want to be around these guys as much as possible. I can't be out there on the field with them, but I can be on the sideline telling them what I see. I think that helps out a little bit."

Players stood by Hamlin and visited him in the hospital after he was hurt, and dedicated their victory over Dallas the week after the incident to him.

"Hopefully we can dedicate a Super Bowl to me," Hamlin jokingly said. "They really cared about what was going on with me."

The investigation into the assault on Hamlin is ongoing.

Tatupu No. 2

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Linebacker Lofa Tatupu finished second in the voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, which was announced Wednesday. San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman won the award with 28 ˝ votes from national media who cover the NFL, compared to 16 ˝ for Tatupu.

The former second-round pick wasn't upset about being the runner-up.

"It looked like he was doing it out there, and he has Pro Bowl stats," Tatupu said of Merriman, who made the AFC Pro Bowl roster. "So that's just the way it is."

Tatupu led the Seahawks in tackles this season, emerging as a team leader almost immediately after cracking the starting lineup to open the regular season. He said the only thing he truly cares about is a Super Bowl ring.

Notes

• The NFL Most Valuable Player award will be announced today, but even if Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander doesn't win it, he is still up for the league's Offensive Player of the Year honor, which will be announced Friday. Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning won the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards last year.

• Alexander and LT Walter Jones were voted Running Back and Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Alumni Association. Former NFL players vote on modern-day players who play the same position as the alumni. The 2005 awardees will be honored at a dinner Feb. 3 in Detroit just before Super Bowl XL.

• WR Bobby Engram won the Seahawks' Ed Block Courage Award, which is given to a player from each of the 32 NFL teams for his courage and sportsmanship, and for serving as an inspiration to teammates. Recipients are selected by their peers.

• C Robbie Tobeck has been informed he is a first alternate for the NFC Pro Bowl squad and will go to Hawaii for the NFL all-star game if Chicago's Olin Kreutz or LeCharles Bentley of New Orleans cannot participate.

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

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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