As soon as the Redskins won their Wild Card playoff round game 17-10 last Saturday in Tampa Bay, Mike Sellers knew he had a problem.
In round two, the Redskins face Seattle this Saturday afternoon. The quandary for Sellers: How to meet all the ticket requests of family, friends and well wishers?
That's something the 6-3, 278-pound fullback vowed to work out over the course of the next few days. More importantly, Sellers is focusing on how to help the Redskins emerge from his hometown with a win against the team with the best record in the NFC at 13-3.
Really, it's hard to miss Mike Sellers. But that's what the Redskins' offense seemed to do in their first two games of 2005. But then, against the Seahawks on Week 4 at FedExField, Sellers began to emerge.
He latched on to a four-yard TD pass from Mark Brunell in the third quarter, and the Redskins would go on to edge Seattle 20-17 in overtime. Throughout the balance of the 2005 campaign, he's been a dominant lead blocker and special teams player as well as a serious scoring threat in the red zone.
Sellers enters Saturday's game at Seattle with 12 catches on the season, seven of which have gone for touchdowns.
Said Brunell, discussing Sellers: "He's a big physical guy and a great blocker. He's a guy that every offense wants to have: a versatile guy who can do more than one thing."
Added Portis: "Last year he was dying for an opportunity, constantly saying, 'Put me in the backfield.' This year, they've given him the opportunity. Anytime he touches the ball, no one wants to tackle him."
Portis likes Sellers even more as a lead blocker.
"You get a guy weighing what he weighs and with his aggressiveness running in front of you, let's see what happens," Portis said.
Sellers is one of four current Redskins--Jon Jansen, James Thrash and Cory Raymer being the others--from the franchise's most recent playoff team in 1999. Sellers said this year's team has the intangibles the 1999 club may have been searching for.
"We had a lot of great players that year, 1999. No one ever really wanted to share the responsibility, though, and I think that's what we have this year," Sellers said. "I think we went into Tampa with a whole different team last week, a team with a better attitude and the willingness to do anything we needed to do to get the job done."
Now in his second stint with the Redskins, Sellers is familiar with many of the Seattle players and has even worked out with some of them in offseasons past.
But all of that will forgotten on Saturday as the Redskins seek to hand the Seahawks their first home loss of the 2005 season after eight wins.
Sellers insists that one of the keys to this year's Redskins team is that all 53 players work well together both on and off the field.
He adds: "Everybody on this team gets along--there's no one person, there's not just Clinton Portis, and there's not just Santana Moss. It's all a team effort, and that's the way everybody does it.
"And with coach [Joe] Gibbs, everybody believes in him, so anything he says, there's no second-guessing. It just makes us that much more confident knowing that we have a great coach."
Asked about the Redskins' six-game win streak, Sellers said: "Plays started going our way, calls started going our way. I don't think we ever gave up or stopped playing against any opponent. The worst game we had was the New York game, and we just came out flat. It's just a mindset, knowing that we have to fight, kick, scratch, just to get to where we are. Everybody just put it in their heads that that was what we were going to do."
As the end of his sixth NFL season-five with Washington and one with Cleveland--Sellers tells younger players that playoff experience does, in fact, count for a great deal.
"The game picks up, the speed, the willingness to go after it changes a lot and for the younger guys, they're going to see a lot of that," said Sellers. "When you play a championship-caliber game, you pick up your level of play. Any playoff game, that's the way it's going to be."
Sellers is coming off a game in which he led the Redskins with three special teams tackles at Tampa Bay. He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week back on Week 17 for his part in the 31-20 win at Philadelphia and finished second on the Redskins in special teams tackles with 30. Linebacker Khary Campbell led the way with 34.
"I've been blessed to have the year that I've had, especially after last year learning the offense," says Sellers. "It's been nice. There's a lot of things I wish I could have done better, then again, everybody thinks that way during the season. I'm content with where I'm at."