Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
February 19, 2009 10:35 AM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
INDIANAPOLIS -- Linebacker Leroy Hill has been designated as Seattle's franchise player.
He receives the non-exclusive franchise tender, and will be offered a one-year deal with a salary of $8.3 million.
"Our reasoning is we've been negotiating and that's gone well," Ruskell said. "We're not done. I wouldn't even say we're even exactly close, but it has been good-faith negotiating and this allows us to keep doing that while protecting our rights to the player."
Hill was arrested in Atlanta in January and charged with misdemeanor drug possession. [Updated to cross out earlier mistaken reference to arrest being "this month."
"I was surprised, and I told Leroy that," Ruskell said. "It just seemed out of character, and as he said to you guys, he's disappointed in himself and embarrassed. And he wants to get his name back because he does a lot of things with kids not only in the Seattle area, but in Atlanta, where he's from."
Ruskell said a face-to-face meeting with Hill that included the coaching staff was an important part of the process.
"Had he said, 'No, I'm not coming in,' we would be going down a different path right now," Ruskell said.
Ruskell said it was also important to ask Hill if he wanted to remain in Seattle and also to give the coaching staff a chance to meet him.
"To hear their evaluation of his fit for the new scheme, which was also very important," Hill said.
Ruskell said the goal remains getting Hill to agree to a long-term deal.