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Agents for Okung, Thomas say first-rounders close to deals

Good news for new coach Pete Carroll on the eve of his first season running the Seattle Seahawks: It sounds as if the team might not have to endure late reporting by another first-round draft pick.

The agent for sixth overall pick Russell Okung said he is working to ensure his client will be on the field when Seahawks training camp begins Saturday.

"We've had discussions every day for the last two weeks," agent Peter Schaffer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. "If he won't be on the field, it won't be for a lack of effort on our part."

The Seahawks want their replacement for the retired Walter Jones in camp from Day 1. They designated the rookie from Oklahoma State their starting left tackle the day they drafted him in April.

Seattle was without last year's first-round pick, linebacker Aaron Curry, for the first eight days of 2009's training camp because of an impasse in contract negotiations. The fourth overall selection eventually signed for $34 million guaranteed. Curry's deal has a maximum total value of $60 million.

The word on progress with Seattle's other first-round pick, safety Earl Thomas from Texas, is similarly positive for the team.

Thomas' agent, Andrew Kessler, is hopeful the 14th overall pick, who has played on the Seahawks' starting defense throughout spring minicamps and organized team activities -- will be in camp well before Saturday's opening practice.

"Hopefully he will be signed before they report (Thursday)," Kessler wrote in an e-mail to The AP.

Okung and Thomas are the only two of Seattle's nine draft picks still unsigned. NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi confirmed earlier Wednesday that second-round pick Golden Tate, a former standout wide receiver at Notre Dame and the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner this past season, agreed to a four-year, $3.261 million contract. The deal includes a $1 million signing bonus.

Only two of the NFL's 32 first-round picks had signed as of Wednesday afternoon -- the Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant, the 24th overall pick, and the New England Patriots' Devin McCourty, selected 27th.

Deals often are finished quickly just before teams begin camps, as other picks sign and establish a going rate at each level of the first round.

Some have cited uncertainty about the future of the collective bargaining agreement as a factor gumming up negotiations. The current CBA expires after this season. Negotiations on deals for top picks are taking place with the possibility of a lockout in 2011 if management and the players' union can't agree on a new labor agreement.

Yet the agents for Seattle's first-round picks said potential labor issues haven't affected their talks.

"I don't think the CBA situation should have a major impact on negotiations, it is not on the ones I have worked on and am working on," Kessler wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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