- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Seattle Seahawks continued to focus on retaining their own free agents by agreeing to terms with wide receiver Jermaine Kearse on a three-year deal on Thursday night.

Kearse became the third player Seattle has brought back this week after previously agreeing to deals with defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin and cornerback Jeremy Lane. NFL.com reported Kearse’s deal is worth $13.5 million.

Kearse has been a complementary asset to Seattle’s passing game, working alongside Doug Baldwin and the emergence last season of rookie Tyler Lockett. He’s also another of Seattle’s undrafted free agents to work his way to the active roster and stick as a key contributor for the team.

“He’s a terrific player. He really is,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at the end of the season in January. “I don’t know if other people appreciate him like we do. We love him in our system and we’d love him to stay with us.”

At times Kearse has disappeared from Seattle’s offense, but he’s also been responsible for some of the more memorable catches in franchise history. His fourth-quarter touchdown in the 2013 NFC championship game against San Francisco put Seattle ahead for good.

A year later against Green Bay, Kearse has the game-winning touchdown catch in overtime to send Seattle to its second straight Super Bowl.

And in that Super Bowl against New England, Kearse’s juggling catch in the closing moments put Seattle on the cusp of a second straight title before Malcom Butler’s end zone interception.

“He continues to, in the big game settings, he just seems to make big plays happen,” Carroll said. “He can do it all throughout the year, but he seems to have a knack for being in the right place to make a special play, and they’re not easy either.”

Last season, Kearse had 49 receptions for 685 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season, and had another 14 catches and two touchdowns in the postseason. And his role could only be growing after Seattle’s emerging passing game became more of a factor in the second half of last season as quarterback Russell Wilson put up franchise-record numbers.

Kearse is also a Pacific Northwest native having gone to high school in Lakewood, Washington, and playing collegiately at Washington.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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