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Sharper signs with the Seahawks

SEATTLE (April 21, 2005) -- Linebacker Jamie Sharper officially became a member of the Seattle Seahawks, signing a five-year deal that includes a signing bonus.

Sharper was released by the Houston Texans on April 1.

The deal was agreed upon last week, but Sharper said he'd been moving some items out of Houston, delaying the signing.

"The last month my status has been up in the air," Sharper said in a conference call. "I'm coming to a team that has been to the playoffs, and I'm just going to come in and try to add to what they've accomplished."

Sharper's signing helps fill a major void in Seattle's defense, which ranked 26th in the NFL last season and is undergoing a makeover.

Seattle released linebacker Anthony Simmons and was expected to do the same with veteran Chad Brown. Orlando Huff, who started 14 games at middle linebacker last season for Seattle, has signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

"I think I bring physicality to the game," Sharper said. "I hunt down the ball carrier. Wherever the ball is, I'm going to be."

Sharper should make an immediate impact and his numbers back up the expectations. He started all 48 games at middle linebacker since joining the Texans in the 2002 expansion draft and led Houston in tackles with 137 last season. He became expendable when the Texans decided to add more speed to their 3-4 defense.

Before going to Houston, Sharper played his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, and was a key member of the Ravens' dominant defense that won the Super Bowl after the 2000 season. He has started 127 of 128 career games, including the last 121.

"I wanted to get back to a quality team that has a chance to win a championship," Sharper said. "There is a great coaching staff up there ... and the team and organization have embraced me so well."

The 30-year-old Sharper was an outside linebacker with the Ravens, but played middle linebacker in Houston. Sharper said playing outside is more natural for him, but he is open to playing wherever defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes would like.

"Outside would be fine with me, but I can play either position," Sharper said. "I think I'm the type of linebacker that can do it all."

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