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Mitchell deepens LB corps


The Jaguars addressed their need at linebacker in consecutive days, signing Keith Mitchell one day after having announced the addition of high-priced free agent Mike Peterson on Thursday.

Mitchell, who the Jaguars attempted to sign last summer, agreed to a one-year contract that will pay him a $250,000 signing bonus and a $750,000 salary. That makes Mitchell a $1 million salary cap hit in 2003.

With the expansion Houston Texans last season, Mitchell suffered a training camp shoulder injury that nagged him throughout the season. He finished the year with 48 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in 12 games played and seven starts.

"In 2000 in New Orleans, he had a Pro Bowl year," Jaguars personnel boss James Harris said of Mitchell.

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio was an assistant in New Orleans when Mitchell was an undrafted rookie sensation out of Texas A&M in 1997.

At 6-2, 245, the 28-year-old Mitchell offers 4.6 speed and versatility. Harris said Mitchell is more of a weakside linebacker, which is Peterson's natural position, but the focus isn't on fitting people into positions at this stage of the roster's development. "We're trying to create competition. We're going to come up with the best group of linebackers," Harris said.

"We added some speed and some guys who've been productive in the league. We've added competition at the position," Harris said.

Mitchell spent the first five years of his career with the Saints before joining the Texans last summer.

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