SEATTLE – Olindo Mare was a Seahawk for a second consecutive preseason, even though a younger, drafted kicker Brandon Coutu was also on the roster again.
To which the 36-year-old accomplished veteran says, so what?
“Well, I did sign a two-year contract,” Mare said incredulously.
Whether Seattle honors the second season of that deal or finally chooses Coutu, a seventh-round pick in 2008 so valued he was on the roster last season as a rare backup kicker, is one of the decisions the Seahawks must make by this afternoon’s deadline to set a 53-man roster for the NFL regular season.
Team president Tim Ruskell has said Seattle won’t carry two kickers again this season.
Mare made his only field-goal try Thursday night in the preseason finale against Oakland. He also boomed a kickoff 5 yards into the end zone for a touchback, recalling his strength from last season, then sent another bounding over the head of a returner for a second touchback.
Mare, a former Miami Dolphins standout who made 89 percent of his field goals for Seattle in 2008, finished three exhibitions 1 of 3 on field goals. A sore kicking knee kept him out of the preseason opener last month.
Coutu’s kickoffs reached the 7 and the 5 Thursday. Coutu was 4 of 5 on field goals in the preseason, including 1 of 2 from 50-plus yards.
Which do the Seahawks value more: field goals, or field position from touchbacks?
“That’s a good question,” coach Jim Mora said, adding his staff was spending all Friday figuring that out. “I can’t tell you now.”
Three other starting positions have been decided.
Mora announced rookie Max Unger will start at right guard over veteran backup Mansfield Wrotto. Unger, a second-round draft choice who was an All-Pac-10 center at Oregon last year, impressed the Seahawks with how quickly he picked up the new offense.
So the patchwork offensive line for the opener Sept. 13 against St. Louis will have Sean Locklear at left tackle for the injured Walter Jones, Rob Sims at left guard after Mike Wahle failed a training camp physical, Steve Vallos at center for the injured Chris Spencer, plus Unger and tackle Ray Willis on the right side.
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