Eagles Acquire Offensive Lineman Mike Zandofsky, An Ex-falcon, Is Expected To Start At Right Guard.

Posted: April 24, 1997

Eagles coach Ray Rhodes filled a hole in his offensive line yesterday when guard Mike Zandofsky agreed to a one-year contract with the club.

An unrestricted free agent who spent most of the last three seasons blocking for then-Atlanta Falcons quarterback Jeff George, Zandofsky, 31, is a 6-foot-2, 308-pound eight-year veteran.

By planting Zandofsky at right guard, Rhodes can play Joe Panos, who spent time last season at both guard positions, at left guard. Panos played without complaint last season, but it was obvious that he preferred sticking to one position.

The addition of Zandofsky would give the Eagles a starting offensive line of Zandofsky, Panos, left tackle Jermane Mayberry, right tackle Richard Cooper and center Steve Everitt. All but Mayberry, who played sparingly last season as a rookie, are proven veterans.

Barrett Brooks, the starting left tackle in 16 of 17 games last season, and Harry Boatswain are the likely top reserves. Free agent Lester Holmes, who shared the right guard spot last season with Panos and Guy McIntyre, is apparently out of the picture.

``We're happy to add a guy with a lot of experience and a lot of versatility,'' Rhodes said of Zandofsky in a statement. ``We fully expect Mike to be our starting right guard.''

Zandofsky, an avid weightlifter, has played every position on the offensive line. Used mainly at right guard in Atlanta, he helped George and running backs Craig Heywood and Jamal Anderson rack up big offensive numbers.

The Eagles did not disclose terms of the deal, and Zandofsky's agent, Ray Anderson, could not be reached. Zandofsky made $700,000 last year with the Falcons.

Zandofsky, a 1989 third-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals, has averaged nearly nine starts per season over his career. After missing two games at the start of last season because of a dislocated knee cap, Zandofsky started the final 14 games.

Signed as a free agent, he started 42 games for the Falcons in 1994-96. He played in 53 games and made 21 starts with the San Diego Chargers in 1990-93. As a rookie with the Cards, Zandofsky made seven starts and played in 15 games.

He was traded to the Chargers before the 1990 season.

``He's an excellent pass protector and a very solid run blocker,'' Rhodes said.

In college, Zandofsky was a three-time Pacific Ten Conference pick at the University of Washington and a 1987 second-team all-American selection.

The Eagles made it a point to note that Zandofsky was the ``fourth major veteran free-agent acquisition'' by the team this off-season. Rhodes has also signed Everitt, kicker Chris Boniol and linebacker Darrin Smith.

Notes. The Eagles also signed rookie free agent tight end Chad Lewis. Undrafted out of Brigham Young University, the 6-6, 252-pound Lewis was born in Fort Dix, N.J. He had 37 receptions for 420 yards and five touchdowns last season.

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