March 13, 2006

LB Fujita the First Addition of the New Administration

He was drafted by the Chiefs when Joe Vitt was the linebackers coach. He was coached by Gary Gibbs at Dallas, who was the linebackers coach last season. He became good friends with Sean Payton, when he shared strategies when the Cowboys played (and beat) the Chiefs last season.

Linebacker Scott Fujita, a walk-on at the University of California-Berkeley and a late-round pick by the Chiefs, is taking his lunch pail to a new job. The Saints have made the 6'5, 250 pound linebacker their first free agent signing of 2006 and the first made expenditure by the new coaching administration. His arrival will forever be linked to the fraternal atmosphere of the coaching staff.

Fujita has signed a four-year contract that averages $3 million per season.

The massive but rangy linebacker has never missed a game. He was limited by a shoulder injury early in 2005

A well-known entity by this coaching staff, Fujita looks to step into a starting job at strongside linebacker, where he played in Kansas City's 4-3 defense. Fujita stayed on the field even in nickel situations and had back-to-back 100-tackle seasons. Last year in Dallas' 3-4 defense, Fujita lined up at right outside linebacker.

Fujita has a bachelor's and master's degree from Cal-Berkeley, a no-nonsense working attitude, the imprimatur of the coaching staff, and more career tackles (322) than James Allen, Courtney Watson, Colby Bockwoldt have combined. He has collected 11.5 sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles in four years. Last year with Dallas, playing opposite rookie sensation Demarcus Ware, Fujita collected 53 tackles, 43 solo, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a pass defense. He started 26 games over three season in Kansas City, including two straight complete seasons and nine as a rookie, and eight last season for Dallas, taking over at LOLB after Al Singleton was injured.

The Chiefs selected Fujita seven spots before the Saints selected Mel Mitchell in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He was acquired by the Cowboys for a sixth round pick in April and a conditional pick in 2007, which they will not have to surrender.

Adopted by Japanese parents and raised in a traditional household, looks little like his last name. Fujita doesn't know his biological mother, who gave him up for adoption in 1979. Fujita played basketball and football in high school, earning honors in both, including winning a prep slam dunk contest as a senior.

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