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Seahawks sign former 49er Will Tukuafu to play FB

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks signed former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Will Tukuafu Wednesday to play fullback. They also called up L.J. Fort from the practice squad to play linebacker after Fort spent last week working at fullback.

That sounds a bit confusing, but there is a method to the madness. Outside linebacker Malcolm Smith's status for this weekend is uncertain because of a groin strain. So the Seahawks coaches felt it was best to move Fort back to his normal position at linebacker.

Fort was signed last week to the practice squad, working as a fullback. But he played linebacker for the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and was a linebacker in college at Northern Iowa except for a few goal-line plays as a fullback.

Tukuafu (6-3, 285) has spent most of his career as a defensive end with the San Francisco 49ers, but came in at times on short-yardage situations as a fullback to block for running back Frank Gore.

“We signed Tukuafu to come in and play fullback for us and see how he does,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.

Tukuafu was originally signed by the Seahawks in 2010 as an undrafted rookie defensive end out of Oregon. He was released by the Seahawks before the start of the 2010 season and signed with the 49ers. Tukuafu was released by San Francisco before the start of this season and has been working out at the University of Oregon, his alma-mater.

Seahawks running back Robert Turbin has lined up at fullback the last two games. Starting fullback Derrick Coleman is out for the season with a broken foot.

Tukuafu is excited about the chance to block for Marshawn Lynch.

“I love his style of play,” Tukuafu said of Lynch. “I’ve been on defense against him. He’s like his nickname -- Beastmode. He’s a beast. To be able to block for a guy like that is a blessing. This is real similar to the offense we had at the 49ers. I’m ready to go.”