Seahawks LBs Hill, Tatupu leave opener vs. Rams with injuries

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks lost two defensive starters Sunday when outside linebacker Leroy Hill and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu left the season opener against the St. Louis Rams, although coach Jim Mora believes their injuries are minor.

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Hill, out with a groin injury, spent Seattle's third defensive series of the first quarter on a training table having his left leg checked by doctors. Hill didn't return, and Will Herring, usually a special-teamer, replaced him.

Tatupu left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter, after Seattle had built a 21-0 lead. Tatupu didn't return, but the defensive captain spent a few minutes riding a stationary bike behind the Seahawks' bench.

Mora left no reason to believe Hill or Tatupu won't play next week at San Francisco.

"We were playing it safe at that point, especially with Lofa," Mora said of keeping Hill and Tatupu out with the big lead.

Tatupu was replaced by David Hawthorne, who nailed Rams quarterback Marc Bulger with a hit under the chin on a scramble. Bulger got up and shoved Hawthorne in the face mask, part of a chippy day between the NFC West rivals.

The Seahawks signed Hill to a six-year contract worth a guaranteed $15.5 million in the spring. The deal could be worth $38 million. He stayed away from non-mandatory minicamps to protest the Seahawks placing the franchise tag on him and depriving him of free agency.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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