The Jacksonville Jaguars signed veteran tight end Ernest Wilford to a new contract, the club announced today. Wilford would have become an unrestricted free agent on March 5. Length and terms of the contract are undisclosed.
Wilford, 6-4, 235, was originally a fourth-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2004 as a wide receiver, and five of his six NFL seasons have been spent in Jacksonville. He signed with the Miami Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in 2008 and was waived on Feb. 24 of last year. He rejoined the Jaguars prior to the 2009 season-opener and played in 15 games at tight end with seven starts, finishing with 11 receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown.
Wilford has played in 85 career games with 44 starts, posting career totals of 155 receptions for 2,142 yards and 15 touchdowns. All 44 of his starts came with the Jaguars and he ranks second in team history with a 14.1-yard average per reception.
He is first among current Jaguars in receiving yards (2,117), seventh in franchise history, and ranks second among active Jaguars players in receptions (152). In addition, he is one of only eight players in team history to record 2,000 career receiving yards. He has 22 career receptions of 25-plus yards, the third-most in franchise history, while his 15 career touchdowns are tied for the fourth-most in franchise history.
In 2008, Wilford played in seven games with the Dolphins and finished with three receptions for 25 yards. He played in all 16 games for the Jaguars in 2007 with a career-high 14 starts, leading the team with 45 receptions for 518 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with seven touchdown receptions in 2005, joining Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell as the only Jaguars receivers to have six-plus touchdowns in a season. Mike Sims-Walker led the team with seven touchdown receptions in 2009.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Wilford did not play football until his senior year at Franklin/Armstrong Military High School. He was an All-Big East selection his final two seasons at Virginia Tech where he finished with 126 receptions for 2,052 yards with 11 touchdowns. An active member of the community, he has hosted the Ernest Wilford Golf Classic in Jacksonville to benefit the First Tee of St. John's County.