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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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September 17, 2008 4:07 PM

Two kickers

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The fact Seattle is carrying two kickers on its 53-man roster has become a point of contention for some fans.

Today, the Seahawks released Jason Babin, a defensive end Seattle acquired from Houston a year ago. The move was made to clear a spot for Keary Colbert, the wide receiver.

So why does the team still have two kickers on the roster? Let's let coach Mike Holmgren answer that.

"The feeling is we have a veteran kicker who is very good, and we have a good, young kicker with a bright future," Holmgren said. "It gets a little dicey when you have roster moves to make."

So why keep the kicker if that's the case? Now, what follows is not a justification or a defense for the team's decision. It's an explanation of the rationale, as best as I can tell.

a) Olindo Mare has been great, and his distance on kickoffs is a real asset, but he also did not finish last season healthy.

b) The team must be pretty certain Coutu is going to get claimed if they waive him.

It is not unprecedented. There are some teams that have had two kickers on the 45-man active roster for a game. And right now, the presence of Coutu on the 53-man roster is not forcing Seattle's hand on game day (i.e. he's not active).

Now, it's possible Seattle would have left Jordan Kent on the 53-man roster last week had they not wanted to keep two kickers. It's unlikely, however, Holmgren would have made a fifth receiver active. Holmgren's general protocol is to have four active receivers for each game. He had four receivers plus Seneca Wallace active last week since Wallace was injured after the team turned in its active roster.

Now, it's possible Coutu's presence on the roster is forcing the hand, but not as much as some are inferring because the team is not "burning" one of its game-day active spots on someone who is not participating.

So while on the surface, people are saying the Seahawks cut Babin instead of Coutu, the real choice was Seattle cut Babin and not Baraka Atkins.

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