Redskins coach Mike Shanahan this week has placed an emphasis on his team getting younger, cutting ties with several long-time veterans at key positions. And for 12-year veteran fullback Mike Sellers, his best bet to remain on the team may be learning a new position.
In the last two practices, as well as Friday afternoon’s walk-through, Sellers worked exclusively at tight end. Meanwhile, second-year Villanova product Darrel Young took the bulk of the first-team snaps at
fullback. Running back Keiland Williams spelled him at fullback.
Sellers, who last season signed a contract extension that runs through 2014, said he learned of the change on Thursday.
“Coach says he knows I can play fullback, and they want to see what I can do at tight end,” said Sellers, who in 1998 broke into the league as a tight end/H-back for Washington and has spent 11 of his 12 seasons with the Redskins. “I’m a team player, I accept it, so let’s do it.”
Sellers in last year’s training camp took a few snaps at tight end, but remained the starting fullback. In seven games, however, Washington opened with three-receiver sets and no fullback.
Sellers said he didn’t know if he has completely lost his job, but said he’ll soon find out.
“We’ll see how camp goes. As of right now, I’m working at tight end because I haven’t played that,” Sellers said. “We’ll see how they do at fullback, if they can handle the responsibility – and it’s a big one. We’ll see.”
The Redskins already have Chris Cooley, Fred Davis and Logan Paulsen at tight end, but Sellers said he didn’t see the position as too deep.
“I accept it as a challenge. I’ve been challenged all my life: guy that didn’t play college, made it to the NFL and it’s my 13th year. I can’t complain. I’m still playing football, still in great shape. Still feel young. It is what it is. … It’s about the team. There’s no I in team. We already got rid of all those guys.”
Several longtime locker room leaders, defensive end Phillip Daniels and center Casey Rabach, were released this week as the team aims to become younger. And Sellers said he feels fortunate to have survived Thursday morning’s cuts.
“The fact that I’m still here, I’m grateful to play this long,” Sellers said. “I’m going to keep doing what I can, be a leader, keep balling on special teams like I can do, and just play ball.”
Young, who last season entered camp as a linebacker but switched to fullback and made the team, said he hasn’t been told that he is the starter at fullback, but believes he is capable of winning the job.
“It’s just an opportunity. They haven’t designated anyone at a starter, they’re just trying out some things, but hopefully it works out this way.”
When asked about the move, Shanahan said, “I know what Mike can do at the fullback position... I think he gives us a little flexibility if I can work him in at tight end and h-back positions.”