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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Bennett, too? Seahawks serious about rush

By Mike Sando

Coach Pete Carroll said the Seattle Seahawks were serious about upgrading their pass rush.

They were serious enough to add Detroit Lions unrestricted free agent Cliff Avril (9.5 sacks last season) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers UFA Michael Bennett (9.0). News of Bennett's signing broke Thursday shortly after the Seahawks made Avril available to reporters on a conference call.

Avril, 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, is a pure outside speed-rusher. Bennett, 6-foot-4 and 274 pounds, would seem to project as more of an inside pass-rusher in the mold of Jason Jones, who signed with the Lions after one season in Seattle.

Bennett was an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks in 2009. There was some expectation he would command a lucrative deal in free agency this offseason. The market for Bennett and Avril was softer than anticipated, however, and Seattle took advantage. The deal with Bennett is for one season.

Landing Avril and Bennett on short-term deals shows both players viewed Seattle as a good place to prove their worth on a short-term basis. Gone, for now, are the days when the Seahawkws had a hard time coaxing free agents to the Northwest.

Carroll indicated earlier Thursday that the team could keep Irvin in a situational pass-rushing role for the upcoming season.

Chris Clemons, a starter in the base defense, could miss time while recovering from knee surgery. Avril and Bennett give the team options in Clemons' absence. Bennett appears well suited to rush from the interior on passing downs.

Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn was with Seattle in 2009 when Bennett was an undrafted free agent with the team.