Seahawks activate Branch, release DL Cooper

Updated: September 23, 2006, 7:25 PM ET
Associated Press

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- As expected, the Seattle Seahawks activated recently acquired wide receiver Deion Branch on Saturday and added him to the 53-man roster for the game Sunday against the New York Giants.

To clear a roster spot, the Seahawks released defensive lineman Chris Cooper, who played well during the preseason but was stuck at the bottom of the depth chart.

The NFL gave the Seahawks a two-week roster exemption for the former Super Bowl MVP, acquired on Sept. 11 from the New England Patriots in a trade that ended Branch's 45-day contract holdout. Branch signed a $39 million, six-year contract with $13 million in guarantees two days later.

Coach Mike Holmgren said earlier this week that he will stick with Nate Burleson as the starting split end, but Branch would play. Holmgren was also considering more four-receiver sets because of injuries to tight ends Jerramy Stevens and Itula Mili.

Darrell Jackson will start at flanker and Bobby Engram is Seattle's other receiver. Mili will play but is not expected to start.

"As I've said before, they all want touches. It's important to them. I'm certainly not going to tell them that you're going to play this amount," Holmgren said. "We're going to substitute guys. We're going to use different groupings, and if you're in there you're in there."

Cooper, in his sixth season out of Nebraska-Omaha, had 16 tackles and a sack in the preseason, playing at end and tackle. But his playing time disappeared when Rocky Bernard and Marcus Tubbs returned from injuries at the start of the season. Seattle is also expected to get defensive tackle Russell Davis back from a foot injury this week.

Cooper previously played for Oakland and San Francisco.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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