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Seahawks Top Picks Real Close Both Could Be Signed Before Tonight’s Game Against Arizona

From Wire Reports

Walter Jones will be at the Kingdome tonight, although not in uniform, and there’s a strong chance Shawn Springs will join him on the sideline to watch the Seahawks’ preseason home opener, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

After missing the first 18 days of training camp, both of the Seahawks’ first-round draft choices could be signed by the 7 p.m. kickoff against the Arizona Cardinals.

Jones, an offensive tackle from Florida State and the sixth pick in the first round of April’s NFL draft, flew from his home in Aliceville, Ala., to Seattle Friday after agreeing to a six-year contract.

Springs, a cornerback from Ohio State and the third pick overall in the draft, and his agent will fly to Seattle today to attempt to finalize details on a six- or seven-year deal.

“It looks very promising,” Ajili Hodari, one of Springs’ agents, said from his office in Columbus, Ohio. “There is a very good likelihood that it will be done tomorrow and if things go like we hope they will, Shawn will be able to join the team (tonight).”

Jones is expected to receive a signing bonus of at least $4 million as part of a $12 million deal. Jones’ agent, Roosevelt Barnes, had been seeking a four-year deal or at least clauses that would void the end of the contract, so the final year probably will be negated.

Still, it took three days of exhaustive negotiations between Barnes and Seahawks executive vice president Mickey Loomis to reach an agreement, including discussions by cellular phone Thursday night as Loomis drove back to Kirkland from the team’s training camp in Cheney.

The talks with Springs’ agents went so well Thursday that executive vice president Randy Mueller canceled a scheduled scouting trip to Detroit and returned to Seattle after attending Thursday night’s game between the Packers and Patriots in Green Bay.

Springs’ deal is expected to be worth more than $13 million for six years, with a signing bonus of close to $6 million. There also have been discussions about adding a seventh year.

Club management wasn’t saying much for fear of fouling deals that also appeared to be close last week.

“I think both are close,” coach Dennis Erickson said as he left the practice field Friday.

Erickson was buoyed by the prospect of having both Springs and Jones on the practice field for the first time Monday. They will have missed 20 practices and two preseason games, which leaves only 10 training-camp practices and three preseason games to prepare for the Aug. 31 regular-season opener against the Jets.

“If they do get in here, they’ll have five practices next week to get ready before they play their first game,” Erickson said of the Aug. 9 game against the 49ers in San Francisco.

Hawks take on Cardinals

Billionaire Paul Allen won’t play a down.

It won’t matter to the Seahawks’ long-suffering fans. They’ll know he’s on their side when they see his new team on the field tonight.

Chad Brown, Willie Williams, Bennie Blades and Warren Moon - who all became members of the Seahawks as expensive free agents during the off-season - will make their Kingdome debuts as Allen’s employees when Seattle plays the Arizona Cardinals in an exhibition game.

It will be the Seahawks’ first game in Seattle since Allen bought the team from Ken Behring.

Allen, who co-founded the Microsoft Corp. with Bill Gates in the late 1970s, won approval for a new $425 million stadium from the state’s voters on June 17. In return, Seahawks fans got the NFL’s richest owner.

The Seahawks played in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, last Saturday, losing to Minnesota 28-26.

This week, coach Dennis Erickson plans to play his No. 1 offensive and defensive units more than they played against the Vikings.

Quarterback John Friesz and the offensive starters will play four series after being on the field for 11 plays last week. The No. 1 defense, with Brown at linebacker, Blades at strong safety and Williams at cornerback, will play more after getting in for 17 plays against the Vikings.

“The No. 1 thing is we’ve got to tackle better,” Erickson said. “We just tackled very poorly in the first football game.”

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