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Eagles add versatile fullback

Luke Lawton has played multiple positions on the football field - fullback, emergency running back, long snapper, and some on special teams.

Luke Lawton has played multiple positions on the football field - fullback, emergency running back, long snapper, and some on special teams.

Perhaps the one position he'd like to lose in the coming months is the regular one on the NFL transactions report.

Since leaving McNeese State in 2004, the 6-foot, 240-pound Lawton has been signed to rosters and practice squads by the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts - and been waived by all of them.

However, after 20 moves involving Lawton by those five teams over four years, the Louisiana native is hoping No. 21 will be the charm. The Eagles obtained him yesterday from the Colts for a conditional draft choice in 2009.

"It's been rough being a journeyman the last few years," Lawton, 27, said yesterday during a conference call with reporters. "Nothing remarkable is ever easy. The NFL is a tough league to be in, but if you stick with it and you have some perseverance, eventually things will work out for you."

Lawton is expected to challenge for playing time at fullback with second-year man Jason Davis, rookie free agent Jed Collins, and converted defensive tackle Dan Klecko.

To make room for Lawton, the Eagles waived injured wide receiver Bill Sampy.

After playing in just four games, all with the Jets, during his first three NFL seasons, Lawton saw action in 11 contests with the Colts in 2007, which he called "one of the favorite seasons of my life so far."

Lawton saw action in the backfield behind Joseph Addai and Kenton Keith, particularly in mop-up roles. He rushed for a career high of 13 yards in a game against Denver and scored his only NFL touchdown on a catch against Jacksonville.

"I had a phenomenal time at Indianapolis last year," he said. "I hadn't even played running back since high school. I was the third running back about half the games, so that was kind of a surprise. But it was a welcome challenge, and I thought I did pretty well."

For the season, Lawton had 13 yards on five carries and 29 yards on four receptions.

Lawton brings speed - he ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash on his school's pro day - along with versatility. He feels he fits in better with the Eagles' West Coast offense than with the Colts, whose two-tight-end offense left limited time for a fullback.

"In college, I caught a ton of balls and I had a lot of yards running," he said. "I think I fit the West Coast offense really well because I'm not a real big fullback, only 230, 235. But I'm fast and I have really good hands because I played wide receiver in high school."

Lawton conceded that he had to move from wide receiver to fullback because "I guess I got too fat. I don't know what happened. I hit a growth spurt. I just started lifting weights."