Ryan's Place

Friday, March 31, 2006

Burleson Joins the Seahawks



From Seahawks.com:

This is the kind of week Seahawks President Tim Ruskell would like to see more often.

Friday night, the Minnesota Vikings failed to match the seven-year, $49 million offer sheet wide receiver Nate Burleson signed with the Seahawks, bringing the speedy Burleson home to Seattle and capping off a week during which both linebacker Julian Peterson and offensive lineman Tom Ashworth have also been signed by the Seahawks. (Nate's career stats)

“I’m very happy to add those guys to what we’ve already got,” Ruskell said Friday. “I’m never comfortable during this time of year because I hate losing players, which always happens, too. But I know this is the league that we live in and this is the system we’re under.

“Personally, I hate it even when we lose the backup holder because you know the chemistry of the group you had was very good. We know what they were capable of - look how close they were to winning the whole darn thing. At the same time, I’m very happy with adding impact players like Peterson and Burleson. Ashworth is a great addition to our line, and you have to include the depth we added with getting (defensive tackle) Russell Davis, too.”

Burleson, in particular, was a coup. A native of Seattle and graduate of O’Dea High School, he had 68 receptions for 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns two years ago, but last season injuries limited him to just nine starts and 30 receptions. But the former third-round pick from Nevada is back to 100 percent and Ruskell is thrilled to add him to the Seahawks high-powered offensive arsenal.

More impressively, it’s highly unusual to get such a young player with that kind of talent as a free agent. That’s not to mention how well the fleet 6-foot, 192-pounder fits into coach Mike Holmgren’s West Coast system.

“He’s only 24,” Ruskell said, beaming. “Nate is really a perfect fit for Mike’s offense because the key, as I see it, is those receivers have to not only be able to catch the ball, but do something after the catch. That’s how we get our big plays. That’s what Darrell Jackson does, Bobby Engram does it to some extent, and even (departed) Joe (Jurevicius) was able to do it because of his strength.

“But this guy might be the best of all of them in terms of after the catch. That’s what makes it in this system. I’m excited to see how he’ll fit in. The bonus is he’s a great guy, from this area, played high school ball in Seattle, and everybody knows him. He’s going to want to please his people. His parents live here. It’s a great story. And what people don’t even realize is he’s only 24 years old; we could have him for 10 more years.”

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