KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -The Seattle Seahawks have found a replacement for Pro Bowl fullback Mack Strong. Among dump trucks.
While placing Strong on injured reserve Wednesday, the Seahawks signed veteran Fred McCrary, who played with Atlanta last season. When McCrary, a 35-year-old former Super Bowl winner with New England, got the call Monday to come to Seattle, he was working with his fleet at Colonel McCrary Trucking, the company he owns in Atlanta.
``Been a wild 48 hours,'' McCrary said after his first practice.
When asked if he had been resigned to life exclusively in trucks, not football, before Monday, McCrary said, ``Heck, no. I knew I was going to play. Honestly. That blow torch is still in my stomach.''
McCrary began his career with Philadelphia in 1995 and played three seasons with Atlanta before the Falcons allowed him to become a free agent after last season. He has also played with New Orleans (1997), Seattle's opponent Sunday night, San Diego (1999-2002) and New England ('03).
The Seahawks also released long-snapper Derek Rackley and replaced him with Boone Stutz, the same man who took Rackley's job with the Falcons in 2006.
Seattle signed two other ex-Falcons this year. Defensive end Patrick Kerney got $19.5 million guaranteed as a free agent. And Alvin Pearman was emerging as a key special teams player until he went on injured reserve this month with a torn knee ligament.
The reason the Atlanta-to-Seattle pipeline is flowing: before Tim Ruskell became the Seahawks' president and general manager in 2005, he was the Falcons' assistant general manager.
Strong, 36 and in his 15th season, said Monday he would retire immediately after learning that a herniated disk in his neck is pinching his spinal cord. He left last weekend's loss at Pittsburgh after a routine hit early in the game caused a burning sensation down his arms and legs.
McCrary will initially back up Leonard Weaver. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren has said Weaver, an undrafted free agent and college tight end, will be the new primary blocking back for struggling runner Shaun Alexander.
On Wednesday, McCrary was mostly on the scout team in practice, but he was excited that Seattle's offense seems to be similar in terminology and approach to his former one in Atlanta.
``I'm going to help this team,'' McCrary said.
Stutz, a second-year veteran released last week by Atlanta, snapped in 20 games for the Falcons. Rackley's poor snaps this season have caused a blocked punt and another partially blocked one.
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