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Seattle heads into offseason with core intact

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Seattle heads into offseason with core intact

RENTON, Wash. (AP) As belongings were packed up, the phrase became a popular refrain coming from all corners of the Seattle Seahawks locker room.

``We have a really good core group here.''

Whether it was safety Earl Thomas or rookie quarterback Russell Wilson or veteran fullback Michael Robinson uttering those words, they resonated with substance because the Seahawks went from a young team with potential to a team on the cusp of being an NFL power this season with most of its key components returning next season.

The expectations will be different in 2013 and everyone already understands that fact. No longer will the Seahawks be a pleasant surprise, but instead hold the title of contender.

``There is nobody in our building that doesn't think that this is going to be an extraordinary offseason for this club,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ``Knowing that all of the kids that made the team last year that get to come back, and played a lot and they come back. It's such a big jump that happens from year one to year two.''

The biggest reason for Seattle's optimism going forward is that core group that has been solidly constructed in three seasons by Carroll and general manager John Schneider and is mostly locked up for the 2013 season. Among their starting 22 on offense and defense, the Seahawks have just two players who are unrestricted free agents - defensive tackle Alan Branch and outside linebacker Leroy Hill. They have only eight unrestricted free agents total and another three who are restricted and can have any offers from other teams matched by the Seahawks.

Unlike last offseason when Seattle was tasked with trying to lock up running back Marshawn Lynch and find an answer to its quarterbacking situation, the Seahawks enter this offseason with the ability to supplement through free agency and the draft while also trying to solidify their roster long-term.

``It is unfinished business,'' Robinson said. ``We are a good team right now but we've got to go from good to being a championship football team. We need to take that next step. We thought we had it this year but hopefully we've got to take this offseason, use it to compete to keep our jobs, compete against other teams ... and draw on this experience next year if the opportunity presents itself.''

Branch and Hill said they would like to return, but defensive line and linebacker could be an area where Seattle looks for upgrades. Carroll was blunt in his season-ending news conference that the Seahawks needed at least two defensive linemen in the hopes of trying to solve a pass rush that floundered for most of the season aside from one memorable night against Green Bay.

``It's kind of hard just sitting on your hands waiting for interest to be brought in your direction or whatever,'' Branch said. ``Hopefully, they want me here and the whole money situation gets settled. But if not there won't be a better group of guys than this, I'm sure.''

Seattle currently has 10 draft picks come April and that is where Schneider and Carroll have found the most success. It's not so much the early-round selections that have paid off - although Thomas and Russell Okung in the first-round in 2010 created a sturdy foundation - but the picks in the later rounds that have proved valuable.

The Seahawks grabbed starting strong safety Kam Chancellor and all-pro cornerback Richard Sherman in the fifth round; outside linebacker K.J. Wright in the third round; right guard J.R. Sweezy in the seventh round; and of course, what turned out to be Seattle's greatest steal, Wilson in the third round last April.

Carroll said with the depth already on the roster, it will be difficult for some of those draft picks to make the team.

``What's going to be hard is for the 10 guys that get drafted to make this team,'' he said. ``That's what I think the challenge is, and that's how much I believe in these guys. I think they're going to come back ready to go.''

Because there are so few free agents to deal with this offseason, the Seahawks may start looking ahead to the next offseason - 2014 - when a number of key players can become free agents. Among those whose contracts expire after next season: Chancellor, Robinson, receiver Doug Baldwin, cornerback Brandon Browner, right tackle Breno Giacomini, guard Paul McQuistan and receiver Golden Tate.

But being in that position of looking head is a luxury for Seattle thanks to the work already done.

``The key is the guys that are the nucleus of our football team always growing and us always developing and seeing how we can all get better individually, but also collectively,'' Wilson said.

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If the players controlled All-Star voting, Bradley Beal would start in the All-Star Game

If the players controlled All-Star voting, Bradley Beal would start in the All-Star Game

On Thursday, the NBA announced it’s All-Star starters and based on the early fan voting returns, it was no surprise that Bradley Beal was snubbed from the list. 

Among Eastern Conference guards Beal was ranked ninth by fans and second by players.  

The starters are determined by voting amongst three groups. Fan votes make up 50 percent, current NBA players make up 25 percent and the media makeup is the remaining 25 percent. 

Beal sat down with Chris Haynes on Yahoo! Sports Posted Up and when asked about fan voting, Beal voiced his frustration, “Fan voting is absolutely horrendous man.” 

  

Beal went on to explain why he believes that fans should have a smaller percentage of the overall vote. 

 

“We respect fans and we love our fans you know but we also know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t know the game, we also know that there’s people who just have favorite players and don’t watch everybody else and we all know that there’s people who they’re going vote one guy because that’s their favorite guy, their favorite everything so I don’t have that. For me it’s an unfair in-advantage.”  

“Honestly, it should be on players and coaches,” Beal continued.

Although Beal missed out as a starter he still has a chance to be selected by coaches as a reserve. The reserves will be announced Thursday, January 30th. 

If we’re keeping it real the NBA should really reconsider the voting breakdown. 

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Dwayne Haskins wants the Redskins to draft another Buckeye wide receiver

Dwayne Haskins wants the Redskins to draft another Buckeye wide receiver

The Redskins recruiting coordinator and quarterback Dwayne Haskins wants to reunite with another one of his former Buckeye teammates in the NFL.

On Thursday, Haskins quote tweeted a video of WR K.J. Hill's highlights at the Senior Bowl with the caption "Need em."

After a back-and-forth, the Redskins' first-round draft pick sealed his approval on the draft prospect by tagging the Redskins' team account. 

K.J. Hill overlapped with Haskins for two years with the Ohio State Buckeyes. During Haskins' final year in Columbus, Hill was the No. 2 receiver with 70 receptions for 885 yards and six touchdowns. 

There was a small dip in production for Hill after Haskins left for the NFL, however, he became a bigger red zone target with 10 touchdowns. 

If the Redskins decided to adhere to their QB's requests, he would not be the only former pass-catching Buckeye to wear the Burgandy and Gold. Third-round draft pick Terry McLaurin was also on the 2018 Ohio State squad before making the move to the NFL.

Hill is just the latest player to be endorsed by Haskins since he became the Redskins starter.  Haskins has tweeted support for the Redskins to bring on Chad Johnson as a wide receiving coach, to draft Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick, and to sign free agent WR Antonio Brown

Additionally, he understandably asked Trent Williams to come back to protect him on the offensive line after Bruce Allen was removed. 

Could the Redskins go and get another Buckeye in the draft?

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