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RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks are hoping Eddie Lacy can be motivated by a one-year contract to rediscover the form that made him the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The Seahawks and Lacy agreed to terms on a one-year deal Tuesday, providing Seattle a big body for a run game that was once the best in football but lagged last season following the retirement of Marshawn Lynch.
"I like that we're bringing in a big, tough guy that's going to send a message the way he plays the game," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said in an interview with KIRO-AM, the Seahawks flagship station, on Tuesday.
Lacy was the top offensive rookie four years ago when he rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also ran for more than 1,100 yards in 2014, but has since been slowed by injuries and lost favor with Packers coach Mike McCarthy at times.
Last season, Lacy played in only five games, sidelined by ankle problems, and finished with only 360 yards rushing and no touchdowns. Weight has also been an issue for Lacy, but Carroll said he would expect the running back to play in the range of 240-250 pounds.
"He's a big guy. There is nothing wrong with that," Carroll said. "There will be a real concerted effort to make sure he's at his very best. This is a hard time for him because he's working some rehab right now, but he is well aware of our expectations and the standards that we are setting."
Seattle's running back situation was filled with instability from the start of last season. Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise were both limited by injuries. Christine Michael was cut midseason due to ineffectiveness, yet still led the Seahawks in rushing during the regular season.
Seattle brought in Adrian Peterson for a visit over the weekend before turning to Lacy as its primary target.
"He's an exciting guy to add to the mix," Carroll said. "Thomas brings us great energy and C.J. and Alex (Collins) add in, too, so I think it makes a really good position group for us. We'll find a good rotation here to help everybody out."
Lacy is Seattle's second signing in free agency after agreeing to a one-year deal with offensive lineman Luke Joeckel last week. Carroll said Joeckel is progressing in his recovery from knee surgery that limited him to four games, and the Seahawks see him as an option at either left tackle or left guard.
"He looks to be making a great recovery," Carroll said.
Seattle also re-signed cornerback and special teams standout Neiko Thorpe on Tuesday. Thorpe was mostly used on kick teams last season with Seattle, but may have a chance at more playing time at cornerback with DeShawn Shead not being tendered and becoming an unrestricted free agent after suffering a torn ACL in the playoffs.
Steelers meet with LB Dont'a Hightower but no deal reached
PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Coveted free agent linebacker Dont'a Hightower's tour hit Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but Hightower left the team's facility without signing a deal.
The team announced it hosted him after he spent Monday getting wooed by the New York Jets. Hightower spent most of the day at the team's headquarters, but left early in the evening without a deal imminent.
Hightower has helped the New England Patriots win a pair of Super Bowls in his five seasons with the team and is probably the best inside linebacker on the open market. The Steelers are searching for a replacement for veteran Lawrence Timmons, who signed with Miami last week after spending a productive decade with Pittsburgh.
Patriots sign free agent RB Rex Burkhead
BOSTON -- The Patriots have signed free agent running back Rex Burkhead.
The move was announced Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed. Burkhead, 26, comes from Cincinnati, where he has spent all four years of his NFL career since being drafted in the sixth round out of Nebraska in 2013.
He appeared in all 16 regular-season games each of the past two seasons. He rushed for 344 yards and two touchdowns for the Bengals in 2016. He also has 27 special teams tackles in his career, including consecutive 10-plus tackle seasons with 11 in 2015 and 12 in 2016.
Burkhead is expected to be used primarily on special teams for the Patriots and could be a replacement for Brandon Bolden, who is an unrestricted free agent.