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O-T-I-S is b-a-c-k

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            "We talked, we agreed and we signed," Smith said. "There was no grief or hang-ups about anything. It's strictly business. I didn't have any hard feelings last year. It was a decision that was made on their behalf and that's the way it went down. That's the way I left it. I just went and found a job somewhere else."  

Smith is a veteran of 13 NFL seasons, including two tours with New England, 1996 and from 2000-2002. He's started 108-of-180 career games, recording 525 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 29 interceptions with seven touchdowns. Over the course of his previous four seasons of work in New England Smith started 48-of-56 games played, tallying 208 tackles, three sacks and 10 interceptions.

Smith adds clear veteran depth to a cornerback position in New England that currently consists of just Pro Bowler Ty Law, veteran Tyrone Poole and second-year player Asante Samuel. In addition to Smith's overall game experience, the veteran has a strong knowledge of Bill Belichick's style of secondary play thanks to seven seasons of action under the coach in time with both the Patriots and Jets.

"I am sure that there were some adjustments made last year because they did have new guys come in, but the system overall—I never have a problem with systems," Smith said. "Intelligence isn't one of my problems. So whatever system is in or what they are doing right now, I just have to adjust to it and catch back up with it."

There was some speculation that the aging Smith could move safety last summer, but talk of that transition was nullified by his release. While Smith says that specific move hasn't been discussed this spring, he is open to doing whatever he can to make the roster and be a contributor.

"They didn't tell me anything," Smith said. "They told me they'd give me an opportunity to make the team. I can play wherever they want me to play, whether it's corner or safety, receiver, quarterback—it doesn't matter. Whatever they need me to do, I'll make that transition."

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            **Otis Smith** is a Patriot for the third time after the team reached a deal with the 38-year-old veteran free agent cornerback on Tuesday. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.  

"New England has always been good to me," Smith said Tuesday afternoon in the locker room at Gillette Stadium. "So it feels good to be back where I had my most success."

The 5-11, 198-pound Smith played in Detroit last season after being cut by New England in training camp on Aug. 18. Smith had missed most of the Patriots summer practices while recovering from surgery that repaired a torn pectoral suffered against the Titans on Dec. 16, 2002. He adjusted to his new home in Detroit quickly though and saw action in all 16 games with the Lions in 2003, starting 13 contests. He finished the year with 67 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1 interception.

Smith said the negotiations to rejoin the Patriots went very smoothly and that he never held negative feelings toward the organization after being cut last summer.

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            "We talked, we agreed and we signed," Smith said. "There was no grief or hang-ups about anything. It's strictly business. I didn't have any hard feelings last year. It was a decision that was made on their behalf and that's the way it went down. That's the way I left it. I just went and found a job somewhere else."  

Smith is a veteran of 13 NFL seasons, including two tours with New England, 1996 and from 2000-2002. He's started 108-of-180 career games, recording 525 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 29 interceptions with seven touchdowns. Over the course of his previous four seasons of work in New England Smith started 48-of-56 games played, tallying 208 tackles, three sacks and 10 interceptions.

Smith adds clear veteran depth to a cornerback position in New England that currently consists of just Pro Bowler Ty Law, veteran Tyrone Poole and second-year player Asante Samuel. In addition to Smith's overall game experience, the veteran has a strong knowledge of Bill Belichick's style of secondary play thanks to seven seasons of action under the coach in time with both the Patriots and Jets.

"I am sure that there were some adjustments made last year because they did have new guys come in, but the system overall—I never have a problem with systems," Smith said. "Intelligence isn't one of my problems. So whatever system is in or what they are doing right now, I just have to adjust to it and catch back up with it."

There was some speculation that the aging Smith could move safety last summer, but talk of that transition was nullified by his release. While Smith says that specific move hasn't been discussed this spring, he is open to doing whatever he can to make the roster and be a contributor.

"They didn't tell me anything," Smith said. "They told me they'd give me an opportunity to make the team. I can play wherever they want me to play, whether it's corner or safety, receiver, quarterback—it doesn't matter. Whatever they need me to do, I'll make that transition."

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            An active, big-play type corner for much of his career, Smith's seven career interceptions returned for touchdowns currently ranks sixth in NFL history, trailing only Rod Woodson (12), Ken Houston (9), Aeneas Williams (9), Deion Sanders (8), and Eric Allen (8).  

Smith, who turns 39 this October, originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Missouri with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990. He spent five seasons on the Philadelphia roster before moving on to spend time with the Jets, Patriots and Lions.

Smith will wear number 45, the same jersey he wore in his previous two stints with the Patriots.

Notes

The 2004 NFL schedule, including all dates and times, will be announced on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. on an NFL Network special, the NFL Total Access Schedule Show. The show will feature interviews with current players and coaches including Michael Strahan, Warren Sapp and Brentson Buckner to discuss the schedule. The program will also include Fox Sports analyst Troy Aikman, ESPN analyst Joe Theismann and CBS analyst Phil Simms to discuss their network's scheduled games. … Rohan Davey was named NFLEL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance last weekend against the Amsterdam Admirals in which he completed 12-of-18 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns

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            An active, big-play type corner for much of his career, Smith's seven career interceptions returned for touchdowns currently ranks sixth in NFL history, trailing only Rod Woodson (12), Ken Houston (9), Aeneas Williams (9), Deion Sanders (8), and Eric Allen (8).  

Smith, who turns 39 this October, originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Missouri with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990. He spent five seasons on the Philadelphia roster before moving on to spend time with the Jets, Patriots and Lions.

Smith will wear number 45, the same jersey he wore in his previous two stints with the Patriots.

Notes

The 2004 NFL schedule, including all dates and times, will be announced on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. on an NFL Network special, the NFL Total Access Schedule Show. The show will feature interviews with current players and coaches including Michael Strahan, Warren Sapp and Brentson Buckner to discuss the schedule. The program will also include Fox Sports analyst Troy Aikman, ESPN analyst Joe Theismann and CBS analyst Phil Simms to discuss their network's scheduled games. … Rohan Davey was named NFLEL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance last weekend against the Amsterdam Admirals in which he completed 12-of-18 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns

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