Redskins sign veteran TE/FB Kozlowski

Updated: November 24, 2007, 10:30 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

With fullback Mike Sellers unlikely to play on Sunday because of a back problem that flared up at mid-week, the Washington Redskins have signed veteran free-agent right end/fullback Brian Kozlowski, who played the past three seasons with the team.

Kozlowski, 37, was one of several candidates who auditioned for Washington coaches, and his familiarity with the Redskins earned him a contract.

The fullback or H-back position is key to the Washington ground game, because of the lead-blocking responsibilities it entails, and Sellers has played the role effectively. But with the tightness in his back sidelining him for practices late in the week, the Redskins sought to add an insurance policy in the event he can't play in Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.

After a 4-2 start to the season, the Redskins have lost three of their last four games and need a win against the Tanpa Bay Buccaneers to stay in the NFC wild-card chase. The Washington offense figures to rely principally on tailbacks Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts -- thus the urgency for a solid lead-blocking fullback.

A 13-year veteran, Kozlowski has been out of football this season.

The former Connecticut standout, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants in 1994, is a versatile player who has lined up at fullback, tight end and H-back and also played on special teams.

He has never caught more than 15 passes in a season and, in three years with the Redskins (2004-06), had just five receptions in 30 games. But Kozlowski is a solid blocker and a good red-zone receiver. In stints with the Giants (1994-96), Atlanta Falcons (1997-2003) and Redskins, Kozlowski appeared in 179 games and had 84 receptions for 973 yards and eight touchdowns.

To create a roster spot for Kozlowski, the Redskins released wide receiver Jimmy Farris.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.