A long time coming
On consecutive plays last week, Sean Considine drew the short straw. The 6-foot, 212-pound Philadelphia Eagles safety was matched up against Mike Sellers, the Washington Redskins’ 6-foot-3, 277-pound fullback-tight end-enforcer.
First play: On third-and-4, Sellers was in pass protection. Considine blitzed and — pow! — got stood up by Sellers. Jason Campbell threw to Antwaan Randle El for the first down.
Second play: Ladell Betts ran to the left side, and Sellers, with a six-stride head of steam, lowered his right shoulder and — bam! — planted it into Considine’s chin, knocking him backward and allowing Betts to gain 4 yards.
Considine became the latest player to have an unpleasant encounter with the Redskins’ battering ram that is Sellers.
Defensive end Renaldo Wynn doesn’t go against Sellers often in practice, “and that’s good because it means I can save myself for the games.”
After finding favor with Joe Gibbs early in the 2004 season, Sellers has played a variety of roles for the Redskins since returning to the team. His first stint was from 1998 to 2000.
Last year, he was a tight end/H-back and became a go-to receiver in goal-line situations. Seven of his 12 receptions were touchdowns.
This year, Sellers has more receptions (16) and rushing attempts (nine, compared to one last year) but still is looking for his first touchdown.
Not that Sellers minds. Undrafted out of community college, cut by Cleveland in 2001 and two stints in the CFL make a player willing to do different things.
“It was an adjustment, especially because it came in a new offense, but it’s one that I’ve enjoyed,” said Sellers, who continues to play on special teams. “I haven’t had the opportunities [for touchdowns], but that’s just the way things have worked out this year.”
In Al Saunders’ system, which utilizes the fullback position instead of the H-back spot, Sellers is often the lead blocker in two-back formations. He also can line up as a second tight end and even in the slot.
“Mike’s done a darn good job in everything we’ve asked him to do — blocking, catching the ball, running the ball,” running backs coach Earnest Byner said. “He’s played at a very high level. The touchdowns haven’t been there, but he’s very unselfish as far as his approach to the game, and he’s very open to learning more about the game and the approach we’re taking.
“Everybody has had particular experiences, and Mike has his story, and he has mentioned to me, ‘E.B., I’ve been through it. I’m very appreciative of where I am.’ He’s taken advantage of every opportunity here.”
Three years ago, Sellers was playing for Winnipeg in the CFL, where the salary cap was about $3 million a team. With the Redskins, he is in the second season of a three-year contract worth nearly $2 million.
“It’s been a long time, so it’s nice,” Sellers said. “A lot of people didn’t know what to do with me because I’m so big but could still run routes and do other things. It took people a while to get used to that. But Coach Saunders saw right away. He got a feel for my [skills], and he gradually worked me in more and more.”