Sunday, September 2, 2007
Eagles add bulk, sign von Oelhoffen to one-year deal
By Len Pasquarelli
Moving to add much-needed size and flexibility to a defensive front that struggled against the run at times in the preseason, the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday signed veteran lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen to a one-year contract.
The deal came just one day after von Oelhoffen was released by the New York Jets as part of their mandatory reduction to the 53-player roster limit. Although von Oelhoffen started in all 16 games for the Jets in 2006, his first and only season with the team, the New York coaches wanted to go with younger players on their depth chart.
To create a roster spot for von Oelhoffen, 36, the Eagles placed four-year veteran defensive tackle Ian Scott on injured reserve. The intent is to release Scott, signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason after playing the first four years of his career with the Chicago Bears, when he recovers from a minor knee injury.
At first glance, the addition of von Oelhoffen might appear to be an awkward fit for the Philadelphia defense. The 13-year veteran has played mostly at end in 3-4 fronts over the last several years and the Eagles deploy a 4-3 base defense.
But the 299-pound von Oelhoffen will provide the Eagles some size at end, a commodity they currently lack at the position, on running downs. And he can move inside at times and log some snaps at tackle as well. The Eagles were 15th in the league versus the run in preseason, but seemed to lack toughness upfront. Philadelphia views von Oelhoffen as a rotational player, and coordinator Jim Johnson will try to maximize his productivity by closely monitoring his playing time.
In addition, von Oelhoffen should give the Eagles another veteran locker room leader; one who might help replace middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, released last week, in that role.
Originally a sixth-round pick of Cincinnati in 1994, von Oelhoffen played six seasons (1994-99) for the Bengals, before signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent in 2000. He became a fixture in the Steelers' 3-4 front, was a part of the team's Super Bowl XL title in 2005, but then signed with the Jets in 2006.
In 189 games, the former Boise State star has 354 tackles, 26 ½ sacks, four forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 14 pass deflections.
The durable von Oelhoffen has missed only one game since 1998. Financial details of von Oelhoffen's one-year contract were not immediately available.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com