Seahawks defector faces old teammates this weekend

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kacyvenski is now aligned with the Rams in the NFC showdown.

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Isaiah Kacyvenski, a premed graduate from Harvard, is nobody's fool. So he wasn't counting on Seattle's promise to bring him back to the team days after he was released.

The Seahawks entered their last game at Chicago on Oct. 1 in need of a backup running back after learning Shaun Alexander would be out indefinitely with a broken foot. So they added Marquis Weeks from their practice squad. To make room on its 53-man roster, Seattle waived seven-year veteran Kacyvenski on Sept. 30 -- and told the special teams captain they would offer him a new contract after the Bears game.

"We're trying to do that as we speak," coach Mike Holmgren said on Oct. 2.

Later that day, the offer came. But Kacyvenski was in Denver, waiting for a connecting flight to his new home: St. Louis, of all places. The linebacker with seven years of knowledge of Seattle's defensive and special teams strategies signed with the division-rival Rams the next day, on his 29th birthday

And, wow, what a coincidence: Sunday, the Seahawks (3-1) play the surprising Rams (4-1) in St. Louis with first place in the NFC West at stake.

"We certainly didn't expect a player of this caliber to be available," first-year Rams coach Scott Linehan said last week upon Kacyvenski's arrival. "For two reasons: He's a great special teams player, and he's also a heck of a good linebacker."

And why wouldn't Kacyvenski go?

Instead of waiting for a Seattle call, he took a prorated, $585,000 contract for the remainder of this season from the Rams.

"The stock phrase in the NFL is, 'Yeah, we're going to bring you back Monday,"' Kacyvenski said last week. "Everyone in the NFL knows that's a famous phrase. I was wary. I was hurt."

Meanwhile, Kacyvenski gets to keep the $494,118 still due him for the remainder of this season from the Seahawks after he agreed last spring to a pay cut in a restructured deal for $600,000. Veterans with four or more years of experience get their contracts guaranteed for the entire season if released following the team's first game.

So Kacyvenski approximately doubled his salary -- and the Seahawks' frustration -- this week.

Holmgren is keenly aware Kacyvenski could be more than a special teams ace for the Rams this week. He could also provide key intelligence on precisely how the Seahawks will play.

"He is a very bright guy," Holmgren said. "And if he chooses to do all that stuff, then we are gove to think about it and make some changes ourselves."

Just more fuel to make Holmgren fume over Kacyvenski's untimely -- or for St. Louis, timely -- switcheroo.

Kacyvenski told reporters in St. Louis that Holmgren was far from thrilled when Kacyvenski told him he signed with the Rams instead of returning to the Seahawks.

"He was very upset, to say the least," Kacyvenski said. "Telling coach Holmgren was the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time. My stomach was in a knot for a day. Hopefully, down the road, I can call him up and talk to him again. But right now, he's not too happy."

This week, Holmgren still seemed steamed. When asked Monday about Kacyvenski's comments that he was angry, Holmgren said sternly, "I really have no comment about that. Really. Thanks for asking, though."

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thinks Sunday's reunion with Kacyvenski will be odd.

"It is going to be weird for us, I think. The guys that have been here with him for such a long time, seeing how he gave everything he had for our team, he was a captain for us," Hasselbeck said. "Who knows? He might be out there for the coin flip. I don't know whose team he will be calling it for. I guess he is on the other side now.

"It is unusual. But it happens in this business. And you just have to be professional about it and do the best you can."you can."

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