Seattle's middle linebacker was a three-time Pro Bowler, but injuries have slowed him down the past three seasons.
RENTON — Lofa Tatupu was absent from Seattle’s afternoon walk-through practice Saturday, and whether the five-year captain is coming back to the Seahawks is now very much in question.
The team has asked Tatupu to take a pay cut, and Tatupu has not told the Seahawks whether he will. If he doesn’t, the team could release him, which would be a sudden end for one of the defining players on Seattle’s only Super Bowl team.
A second-round draft pick in 2005, Tatupu was a starter from the day he joined the team. He was named a captain for the playoffs as a rookie, selected to the Pro Bowl each of his first three seasons and signed a six-year, $42 million contract extension in 2008.
That contract calls for Tatupu to make more than $4 million this season, and he has been asked to take a reduction. Tatupu has not returned messages, and his agent declined to comment on the situation.
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Marcus Trufant, Leroy Hill and Tatupu are the only players remaining from the 2005 Super Bowl team.
Injuries have limited Tatupu, 28, each of the three previous seasons. He played 2008 with a broken thumb suffered in the regular-season opener. He appeared in only five games in 2009 before suffering a torn pectoral muscle in Week 6, and while he started all 16 games last season, he underwent surgery on both knees after the season.
But there’s more than just the request for a pay cut at work here. There has been speculation the Seahawks were interested in Takeo Spikes, the 49ers linebacker who wound up in San Diego. And regardless of how substantial that pursuit was, the perception has added an emotional element to the situation. From Tatupu’s perspective, not only has there been a request for a pay cut, but he’s wondering if that request came only after the team inquired about finding his replacement.
The expectation is that Tatupu will be released if he chooses not to accept a new salary.
There was no indication that he reached a decision.
• Seattle closed its afternoon practice to the public Saturday. NFL guidelines on training-camp practices have changed. On days when two practices are scheduled, the second workout must be a walk-through. Coach Pete Carroll holds all walk-throughs at the indoor practice facility, which can’t accommodate fans attending. The team attempted to contact those fans who registered to attend, offering a spot at a future practices or to refund the transportation fee.
• DL Junior Siavii was re-signed by Seattle, which also brought back Brandon Coutu to compete for the kicking job. Coutu was a seventh-round choice of Seattle in 2008. He made the 53-man roster that season, but never appeared in a game as Olindo Mare was the team’s kicker.
Danny O’Neil: email@example.com