[Press release from the Browns announcing the signing of two unrestricted free agents.]
The Cleveland Browns today signed linebacker Scott Fujita (pronounced Foo-GEE-ta) and offensive lineman Tony Pashos (pronounced PAH-shos) to multi-year contracts as unrestricted free agents, the team announced. Fujita, an eight-year veteran, spent the past four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. Pashos, a veteran of seven NFL seasons, spent last year with the San Francisco 49ers.
“We are extremely happy that we were able to get Scott and Tony signed so quickly,” said Browns General Manager Tom Heckert. “They are two players we had targeted from the start of free agency. Both are smart, tough and physical - the type of players that the Browns are looking for.
“Scott possesses tremendous size for a linebacker, and this will allow him to play inside or outside in our 3-4 defense. He has been a starter throughout his career, has been exposed to several different defensive schemes and has been successful in all of them. He is a great leader and played a big part in the success that the Saints achieved last year.
“We like the fact that Tony has started a lot of games in this league, and has been a part of some productive offenses with Baltimore and Jacksonville. Although he’s started at right tackle, he has the versatility to play inside as well, and he will come in and compete at both tackle and guard with us.”
The 6-5, 250-pound Fujita entered the league as a fifth-round draft choice of Kansas City in 2002. During his career, he has played with the Chiefs (2002-04), Dallas (2005) and the Saints (2006-09). He has appeared in 120 regular season games with 103 starts and has amassed 801 tackles, 19 sacks, five interceptions, 22 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has started a minimum of eight contests in each of his eight seasons, and has opened all 16 on three occasions (2003-04, 2006). He also has started each of the six playoff games in which he has played during his career, including all three in the Saints’ postseason run to the Super Bowl XLIV title this past year. With New Orleans, Fujita served as a defensive captain in both 2007 and 2008.
Originally a walk-on safety at the University of California, Fujita went on to start 24 of the 39 games in which he played at linebacker during his four-year career for the Golden Bears (1998-2001), recording 124 tackles and seven sacks. He graduated with a degree in political science and went on to earn his master’s in education. Born April 28, 1979, Fujita was a standout in football and basketball at Rio Mesa (Calif.) High School.
The 29-year-old Pashos originally was a fifth-round draft choice of Baltimore in 2003. He has spent four years with the Ravens (2003-06), two with Jacksonville (2007-08) and one with the 49ers (2009). During that time he has played in 74 games with 55 starts, all at right tackle. Over a three-year period from 2006-08, he started all 47 games in which he played. This includes 16 with the Ravens in 2006 and the Jaguars in 2008, and 15 for Jacksonville in 2007. In 2006, he was part of a Ravens line that allowed only 17 sacks, the second-lowest total in the NFL that year, while running back Jamal Lewis rushed for 1,132 yards. In 2007, he was a member of a Jaguars line which led a running game that averaged 149.4 yards per contest, the second-best figure in the league, led by a 1,202-yard rushing effort by Fred Taylor, who averaged 5.4 yards per carry. In 2008, Jacksonville averaged 4.2 yards per rush attempt as both Maurice Jones-Drew (824) and Taylor (556) surpassed the 500-yard rushing plateau.
The 6-6, 325-pound Pashos was a four-year letterman at Illinois (1999-2002) where he started 47 games at right tackle and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as both a junior and senior. He graduated with a degree in history and a minor in political science. Born August 3, 1980, he attended Lockport (Ill.) High School, where he earned a total of nine varsity letters, including four in football, three in track and two in powerlifting.