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RUMOR UDFA: TE Billy Palmer - Notre Dame

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Until its confirmed by redskins.com I have to consider it wa rumor.



Monday, April 25, 2005 Page S3

Waiting while 255 other names were called during two days of the National Football League draft was no picnic for Jesse Lumsden.

But the former McMaster University running back only had to bide his time a few more seconds after the seventh and final round ended yesterday to learn where his opportunity to make the NFL will come.

League sources say the 6-foot-2, 225-pound player from Burlington, Ont., has agreed to a free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

"It was a long two days," said Lumsden, 22. "I spent a total of 16 hours watching television, and that's too much for anybody. At points, it got real stressful and I had to take a couple of showers or go lie down. But with the way everything worked out, I couldn't be happier."



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Seattle had expressed considerable interest in Lumsden leading up to the draft and was the only club to fly him in for a visit. The Seahawks did not select a running back with any of their nine picks.

Seattle already has an elite running back, Shaun Alexander, who has rushed for 5,937 yards and 62 touchdowns in his first five NFL seasons.

Alexander, however, is not a happy camper these days. He was prevented from becoming a free agent this off-season when the Seahawks put their franchise tag on him for a salary of $6.3-million (U.S.) next season. Alexander has not signed and is expected to miss the team's training camps unless the Seahawks offer him a long-term deal.

If he makes the Seahawks, Lumsden would be the fourth Canadian on Seattle's roster, joining Toronto-area running back Kerry Carter, long snapper J.P Darche of Montreal and recently signed wide receiver Jerome Pathon, who grew up in Vancouver.

The Seahawks' new director of football operations, Tim Ruskell, once worked for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

While financial details of Lumsden's contract were not public, NFL sources say most rookie free agents receive a signing bonus of less than $10,000, with the high end being $15,000 to $20,000. The NFL rookie minimum salary is $230,000 for players on a team's active roster.

"The best thing about signing is the opportunity," said Lumsden, who won the 2004 Hec Crighton Trophy as Canada's university football player of the year. "That's all I ever asked for."

Saturday was an easy day for former Stanford safety Oshiomogho Atogwe of Windsor, Ont. He was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the second pick of the third round.

"Watching the draft wasn't too painful," Atogwe, 23, said from his parents' home in Windsor. "Just long and tedious.

"I knew they were interested in me, based on conversations we had, but I didn't know to what extent. When I spoke to them [on Saturday], they said they were definitely looking for someone to come in and get on the field early because they lack depth at the safety position. They want someone to be immediate and help them out."

The New England Patriots took Nick Kaczur of Brantford, Ont., late in the third round with the 100th pick overall.

Kaczur was a four-year starter at the University of Toledo.

Three other Canadians signed free-agent contracts yesterday.

Billy Palmer, a tight end from Notre Dame who grew up in Ottawa, signed with the Washington Redskins, Louis-Phillip Ladouceur of Pointe-Claire, Que., a long snapper last season with the University of California, came to terms with New Orleans Saints and Bowling Green kicker Shaun Suisham of Wallaceburg, Ont., joined the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Draft highlights

Utah quarterback Alex Smith went first overall to the San Francisco 49ers. Smith is expected to start at some point in the season.

Auburn's Ronnie Brown (Miami) and Carnell Williams (Tampa Bay) were selected second and fifth overall, respectively, the highest selection for two running backs from the same school.

With Texas's Cedric Benson going third to Chicago, running backs made up three of the top five picks.

Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarrett was not taken until late in the third round, 101st overall, by Denver. Clarrett had tried to sue the NFL to allow him to enter the draft a year early.

Former Southern California receiver Mike Williams went 10th overall to Detroit. Williams sat out last season after hiring an agent and hoping to follow Clarett's footsteps into the 2004 draft.

California quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whom some projected as the top pick overall, was taken 24th overall, by the Green Bay Packers.


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