He's only been in town for a couple of years, but there's no doubt Russell Wilson is far and away the most popular athlete in the state.

The Seahawks quarterback tops the list in Washington, according to a study of the average monthly Google searches by the website besttickets.

It's little surprise, considering Wilson's national celebrity after leading the Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship and all of the media attention and commercial deals he's gotten since.

What might be be surprising, however, is that his popularity is far out paced across the country by other sports stars.

Miami Heat star and reigning two-time NBA champ LeBron James dominates the list nationwide. James is the most popular athlete in 23 states, from Oregon to Florida. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is next, claiming seven states, including in the Intermountain West from Montana to New Mexico. He's also the most popular in Tennessee, home to his alma mater, and Indiana, where he played for years for the Colts.

While James is the most popular athlete, the NFL far eclipses the popularity of the NBA. Pro football is tops in all but three states. Not surprisingly, the NBA is more popular in Oregon, which doesn't have an NFL team, in Oklahoma City, which only has our former Sonics to call its own, and in New York. The NFL and NBA tied in popularity in Florida.

Despite winning the Super Bowl, the Seahawks are only the second most popular NFL team according to Google search data. The Denver Broncos topped the list, followed by Seattle, the Patriots, the 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings.

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Seahawks general manager John Schneider calls Terrelle Pryor "an incredibly explosive athlete." (AP)

By Brady Henderson

Three thoughts on the Seahawks' latest move, a trade that acquires quarterback Terrelle Pryor from Oakland in exchange for a seventh-round pick:

What's in store for Pryor? The press release the Seahawks sent out to announce the move referred to Pryor as a quarterback. The quote from general manager John Schneider, though, didn't: "Terrelle is an incredibly explosive athlete and we're excited for him to come in and compete."

Perhaps it's meaningless, or perhaps it's an indication that the Seahawks have thoughts about using Pryor in another capacity, one that takes advantage of the explosiveness that Schneider mentioned. Pryor is an athletic marvel, with various reports stating he's run the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds. That's impressive for anyone, especially someone who stands 6 foot 4 and weighs 233 pounds like Pryor.

It's not as though the Seahawks are in need of another quarterback. Russell Wilson is the clear-cut starter, Tarvaris Jackson is among the best backups in the league and B.J. Daniels is a talented developmental prospect. It would be hard to imagine Pryor beating out Jackson to be Seattle's backup this season, especially considering Jackson's one-year, $1.25 million is guaranteed. Seattle has only kept two quarterbacks on its 53-man roster the last two seasons.

Seventh rounder in perspective. Remember the names Lazarius Levingston, Ryan Seymour and Ty Powell? They were all seventh-round picks by Seattle who didn't make the team out of training camp the year they were drafted. Levingston and Seymour were then signed to the practice squad as rookies, but none of the three are still with Seattle.

That should help put into perspective what little the Seahawks are giving up for Pryor, whom they obtained for their seventh-round pick in next month's draft (No. 247 overall). If Pryor doesn't pan out, the Seahawks will have only given up a draft pick that they could have spent on a player who recent history shows would be no lock to even make the team.

The Seahawks now hold six picks in next month's draft after giving up their seventh-round selection. The complete list looks like this:

• Round 1, 32 overall
• Round 2, 64 overall
• Round 4, 132 overall
• Round 5, 146 overall (Matt Flynn trade)
• Round 5, 172 overall
• Round 6, 208 overall

A reason to reserve judgment. Pryor, 24, has appeared in 15 games since he was chosen in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft. That includes 10 starts over the last two seasons. His passing numbers in that stretch aren't overwhelming: 170 for 302 (56.3 percent), 6.5 yards per completion, nine touchdowns to 12 interceptions, and a 69.3 QB rating. The Raiders went 3-7 in Pryor's 10 starts. Aside from his rushing statistics – a 6.2 yards-per-carry average and three touchdowns, including one of 93 yards – none of his totals are particularly impressive.

Something that should be taken into account, though, is the instability, lack of talent and general dysfunction that has defined the Raiders for some time. In three seasons, Pryor has played for two head coaches, three offensive coordinators and two quarterbacks coaches. Oakland has finished 4-12 in each of the last two seasons, with only two offensive Pro-Bowl selections in that stretch.

That's not the only reason for his lack of success so far, but it certainly hasn't helped.

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks and Richard Sherman have made "considerable progress" toward a new deal that could make the All-Pro cornerback the league's highest-paid player at that position, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

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Sherman
La Canfora reports that the two sides hope to finalize the deal before the draft, which begins May 8.

Sherman's new deal, according to La Canfora, is expected to surpass the $12 million that Darrelle Revis will make in 2014 from New England. Sherman – who is entering the final year of the rookie contract he signed when Seattle drafted him in the fifth round in 2011 – is scheduled to make $1.431 million in 2014.

Sherman made $555,000 last season while being named a first-team All-Pro for the second straight year, making him one of the league's best bargains. He was a candidate for the defensive player of the year award last season after pulling off a remarkable feat – leading the league in interceptions despite being thrown at fewer times than any other qualifying cornerback.

That has all made his looming payday an expected move, one that's going to cost Seattle a significant amount of money. The Seahawks built a championship roster with the help of the financial flexibility they were afforded with star players like Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson playing on cost-controlled rookie deals.

Sherman's bill is about to come due.

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.

By Brady Henderson

The next edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil is scheduled for today at 12:30.

The football rivalry between San Francisco and Seattle now extends to the region's Bay Area Rapid Transit system, with some fans up in arms new trains are getting decked out with seats in the Seahawks colors.

The green and blue seats have sparked a Change.org petition, demanding the BART authority change the seats to different colors.

"The Seattle Seahawks are the chief rivals of the San Francisco 49ers. To outfit BART car seats in the team colors of the Seattle Seahawks (i.e. neon green and blue) is an outrage and a slap in the face of every San Francisco 49ers fan who rides BART. I call upon BART General Manager Grace Crunican (who oddly enough worked as Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation prior to joining BART) to scrap plans to adorn BART car seats in neon green and blue and instead choose other colors."

It hasn't exactly sparked a groundswell. Just 1,542 people had signed the petition as of Monday evening. The new trains don't go into service until 2017, leaving plenty of time for 49ers fans to get really angry, and hopefully lament at least one more Seahawks Super Bowl championship.

By Brent Stecker

Things started looking up for Sidney Rice about a week ago.

The veteran NFL wide receiver had a bad end to his 2013 season in the form of an ACL tear in Week 8 against the Rams, and it went to worse when the Seahawks released him as a cost-cutting measure on Feb. 28. But it all turned around last Monday.

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Sidney Rice said he is "ahead of schedule" in his recovery from a torn ACL that ended his 2013 season in Week 8 and held him out of the Seahawks' Super Bowl run. (AP)

That's when Rice was cleared by doctors to work out for teams, and as luck would have it, the same organization that released him just months earlier had a need for a receiver with his exact kind of skillset. By Wednesday, Rice himself had announced his return to Seattle.

It may seem surprising that Rice decided to sign with the same team that cut him, but as he told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny," he never felt disrespected by the team he spent the past three seasons playing for.

"The door was always open," Rice said. "When I went up to (general manager John) Schneider's office to talk to him and coach (Pete) Carroll right when they decided to release me, that was one of the first things they mentioned, that they would love to have me back. It was just a few things that they had to work out, and me being in the league for seven years now I understand that it's a part of the business, that things happen like that sometimes."

Rice, whose one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.4 million, said the reaction from Seahawks fans to his injury last season factored into him taking less money to come back to Seattle than what he was offered by the New York Jets offered.

"I don't think I've been around a place where you get injured and still have the full support of the fan base, and that really meant a lot to me," he said. "Just to be back and have another opportunity to play in front of the 12s at C-Link is a huge part of the factor, too."

Coming off his injury, Rice told "Brock and Danny" he's confident about his ACL and is eager to get back to work on the field.

"I'm doing really well. I'm quite ahead of schedule," he said. "I got cleared last Monday to start doing cutting and things like that. I was just excited to get back here to the facility.

"Right when I walked in the facility (Friday), the first thing I did was walk to my locker and put my Seahawk gear on, my shoes, my pants, and went up there, signed my contract, and just went immediately downstairs to get with our trainers and start our training session right away."

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Jermaine Kearse (center) scored memorable touchdowns in both the NFC Championship game and Super Bowl. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

Our countdown of the players on the Seahawks roster with the most to gain this season continues with a look at Seattle's group of receivers and there's one who has more room to grow than any other, and no, we're not talking about the return of Sidney Rice.

WR Jermaine Kearse

Age: 24

Experience: Entering third season

Pedigree: An undrafted rookie out of Washington, Kearse first made the Seahawks roster because of his play on special teams. Last season, he had an early opportunity at wide receiver and he grabbed onto it. With both hands.

A player knocked for the passes he dropped during his four years in college became known for the balls he caught with the Seahawks. Whether it was the 43-yard touchdown in the season-opening victory at Carolina – Seattle's only touchdown that game – or the play in which he spun away from four different Broncos en route to the end zone in the Super Bowl.

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Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse's rapport with quarterback Russell Wilson has been apparent since the two arrived at training camp as rookies in 2012, writes Danny O'Neil. (AP)

Kearse averaged 15.7 yards per catch in 2013, most of any Seahawk who caught more than five passes during the regular season. He caught four touchdowns in the regular season, each spanning more than 25 yards.

Predicament: There's plenty of competition at wide receiver even with Golden Tate's free-agent departure to Detroit. Seattle hopes to have Percy Harvin for a full 16-game schedule, Doug Baldwin is a factor not just for opportunities in the slot, but on the outside and Seattle brought back Sidney Rice. Kearse will have a chance to get more opportunities this season, but no guarantees.

The possibilities: Rice's return is a nice story, the Seahawks bringing back their leading receiver from 2012. Whether it's a significant story, though, depends in part on Kearse and whether he builds on what was a promising second season.

Kearse's rapport with quarterback Russell Wilson was evident as far back as the 2012 training camp when both are rookies. In the second season, that trust translated into two routes in which Kearse excelled, beginning with the go route that resulted in that touchdown in Carolina back in Week 1.

His success on those patterns set up opponents for the back-shoulder fade, which also became part of the arsenal. By the playoffs, Kearse had evolved from a promising youngster to a trusted target, as evidenced by the fact he was the one Wilson threw to on that fourth-down freebie against the 49ers, turning into the 35-yard touchdown.

Kearse isn't the fastest receiver on the team nor is he the biggest, but his combination of size and speed and that ability to make plays in traffic makes him the player who is best positioned to see his production skyrocket with Tate gone.

By Brent Stecker

Highlights from the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil:

Jdoster06 asked if 50 catches is the best case for newly re-signed wide receiver Sidney Rice in 2014.

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Danny O'Neil said the role of the recently re-signed Sidney Rice Seahawks receiving corps in 2014 will depend on where Jermaine Kearse is placed on the depth chart. (AP)

O'Neil: Best case? Fifty is a lot. That would presume two things: He's healthy; He's ahead of Jermaine Kearse on the depth chart.

tom page asked if the Pete Carroll would be interested in bringing in trouble 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith if he were released.

O'Neil: Aldon Smith is an incredibly intriguing player though someone who is very likely going to be facing league discipline before the start of the year. The short answer: Yes, I think the Seahawks would be interested. He's an elite pass rusher, and Pete has shown a willingness to give guys a second chance. The one thing we haven't seen him do is take second chances on guys with documented substance-abuse issues.

good idea at the time asked what can be expected, if anything, from offensive guard James Carpenter this year?

O'Neil: I've started hearing the annual "he's in better shape" rumblings. Which I've taken with three grains of salt I will then use to season a hamburger.

BlatantChipmunk asked how many touches running back Christine Michael should be expected to get next season.

O'Neil: Too soon to tell. If he doesn't average 3-5 carries over the course of this season, I think we can conclude that he hasn't progressed the way the team hoped when it chose him in the second round last season.

Buckminster Fuller asked if Danny can recall past Seahawks offseason workouts that had the same level of participation as quarterback Russell Wilson's in California.

O'Neil: Well, during the lockout, everybody was all gaga over how Drew Breese orchestrated his team's workouts. I think that Russell Wilson does indeed help set a tone and provide some continuity. But that's like Reason No. 12 or Reason No. 13 on why he's the right quarterback. I generally think offseason workouts like that are vastly overblown.

Hawker asked who will replace Golden Tate as the Seahawks' main punt returner.

O'Neil: (I) am very interested to see who they try there. I've always thought Doug Baldwin would make a great candidate with his hands and fearlessness. Jeremy Lane worked some at kickoff.

Conner asked who the Seahawks value more at the linebacker position moving into the future: Bobby Wagner or K.J. Wright.

O'Neil: Bobby Wagner because of the position he plays in the middle of the defense.

Line guy asked if offensive tackle Russell Okung will be get re-signed after next season, considering his injury history, or if Carroll and general manager John Schneider will let him walk.

O'Neil: I truly don't know. I think that Russell Okung might be the biggest question in terms of long-term value, even more so than linebacker. I am reasonably certain that Seattle values (highly) Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson. Now, whether the team's value is high enough to sign them remains to be seen.

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