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Pro Bowler's fibula broken in practice drill

CHENEY, Wash. -- Linebacker Chad Brown, a three-time Pro
Bowler, broke his left leg during practice Monday with the Seattle Seahawks.

Coach Mike Holmgren said Brown will undergo surgery on his left
fibula as soon as possible. Doctors believe Brown likely will miss
the first four games of the regular season.

The Seahawks hope he can return by the Oct. 17 contest at New
England.

Holmgren said Brown broke the bone after getting his feet
tangled with tight end Itula Mili during a passing drill. Fellow
linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski said he could hear a pop in Brown's
leg about 20 yards away.

"Every day you pick up a newspaper there is someone on some
team and something that happened," Holmgren said. "You worry
about it, but it can't paralyze you. You have to practice and do
what you need to do to get ready to play.

"It's just the nature of the beast. You just keep your fingers
crossed that it doesn't happen too much to you."

Brown, 34, is entering his eighth season with the Seahawks after
being signed in 1997 as a free agent from Pittsburgh. He ranks
fifth in Seahawks' history with 707 tackles and sixth in sacks with
47 sacks.

Reserve D.D. Lewis, listed as the backup at both outside
linebacker positions, has been held out of contact drills while
recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, so fifth-year pro
Kacyvenski will start in Brown's place, Holmgren said.

He added there are no current plans to try and acquire another
linebacker, but said, "That's not to say something won't happen in
a couple of weeks."

Brown and fellow outside linebacker Anthony Simmons were
expected to carry the linebacking corps early in the season as the
Seahawks plan on using an unproven middle linebacker. Fourth-year
pro Orlando Huff, second-year player Solomon Bates and rookie Niko
Koutouvides are battling for the starting role at middle
linebacker.

Seattle opens the season with back-to-back road games at New
Orleans and Tampa Bay. The Seahawks return home on Sept. 26 to face
San Francisco, followed by a bye week. Seattle will host NFC West
rival St. Louis on Oct. 10.

Monday's practice was Seattle's first since a lackluster 19-3
exhibition loss to Denver on Saturday night. Holmgren said he was
particularly disappointed in the performance of the Seahawks'
offense against the Broncos.

Seattle will travel to San Diego for a preseason game Friday
night.