Mike Sellers has been a regular for the Washington Redskins at fullback and on special teams for the last seven seasons, but on Sunday he was inactive(for something other than an injury) for the first time in 108 games. Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said the 13th-year veteran remains a key member of the team, however.
Sellers, 36, saw his role with the team reduced this season as second-year pro Darrel Young took over at fullback. Sellers worked almost exclusively as a backup tight end during the preseason and made the 53-man roster as a fullback/tight end.
Washington dressed only one fullback on Sunday in part because needs at other positions, and in part because the team is running an increased number of multiple tight end sets, which means there is less need for a fullback.
With Chris Cooley healthy, Washington had three other tight ends, and with Young playing just 13 snaps, Sellers wasn’t needed. On the kickoff return unit, rookie nose tackle Chris Neild took Sellers’ usual spot, fellow rookie Niles Paul, a receiver, played where Sellers would have usually played on the kickoff team, and third tight end Logan Paulsen replaced Sellers on the punt team.
But Shanahan expressed his appreciation for Sellers’ contributions Monday and added that the situation will change from week to week.
“You have to take a look at the tight end situation, your fullback situation,” the coach said. “We had three tight ends that played, Chris Cooley was up, Darrel Young [was active] and five wide receivers were up. You have to take a look at the flexibility of your team.
“The thing that’s great about Mike is that he can play both the tight end and fullback position. He can help on special teams,” Shanahan added. “Usually the decision we make is if a guy is first or second team, he has the chance to be up. Then, there is the wild card on special teams. Sometimes it may be [Brandon] Banks, sometimes it may be Sellers or maybe it’s another player. Sometimes it’s [because of an] injury. Mike Sellers will play a lot for us. Mike is exactly the type of guy you want on a football team. He will do everything possible he can to get ready on game day, whether he’s playing the tight end, [H-back], fullback and he’s going to play special teams.”
The 6-foot-3, 272-pound Sellers, who in the preseason had four catches for 42 yards, wasn’t in the locker room after Sunday’s game or during media availability Monday, but was on the field before the game, helping Young loosen up and giving him pointers on the sideline.
“When he doesn’t play, he’s still supporting his teammates,” Shanahan said. “A lot of guys aren’t smart enough mentally to take that. He’s what you call a guy that is a winner and he’s going to help the football team if he’s on the football team or not.”