The Jaguars signed veteran offensive tackle Bob Whitfield to a contract on Tuesday and made room for him on the roster by placing tackle Mike Pearson on the injured reserve list.
Whitfield, 6-5, 310, is a former Pro-Bowler who has only ever played the left tackle position, and that suits the Jaguars' needs just fine. The Jaguars lost Pearson, the team's three-year starter at left tackle, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter of this past Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
"We brought him in for a workout and he did a very good job in the workout," Jaguars pro personnel director Charlie Bailey said of Whitfield, who auditioned for the Jaguars at Alltel Stadium on Tuesday. "He was the eighth pick in the total draft in 1992 and has had a stellar career, a Pro-Bowler, a guy who's played at a high level for a long time," Bailey added.
Whitfield, who will turn 33 in October, was in his 12th season as the Falcons' starting left tackle in 2003 when he suffered a broken right fibula in the eighth game of the year. He was cut by the Falcons this summer.
"He can still play," Falcons player personnel vice-president Ron Hill said of Whitfield. "He'll be a leader for the Jaguars. I think he's a real good pickup. He's a great fit for this time of the year."
Ephraim Salaam is expected to replace Pearson in the starting lineup for this Sunday's game in San Diego. Whitfield is likely to fit on the depth chart behind Salaam, who is also a former Falcon.
"He has to learn our system. Hopefully, as we go he'll filter into the lineup," Bailey said of Whitfield.