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Patriots sign veteran cornerback Otis Smith; claim tackle Josh Rawlings off waivers

FOXBORO, Mass. –The New England Patriots announced the signing of veteran cornerback Otis Smith, today. In addition, they claimed tackle Josh Rawlings off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs. Following today's transactions the Patriots now have 67 players on their roster (including three NFL Europe roster exemptions; Garrett Johnson, Marc Megna and Sean Morey).

Smith, 35, has played in 109 career games, totaling 278 tackles and 20 interceptions, five of which he returned for touchdowns. He has also been credited with 65 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and has recorded two sacks during his 11-year career.

The 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound cornerback spent the last three years (1997-99) with the New York Jets. During that time, he accumulated 143 tackles, eight interceptions (three of which he returned for touchdowns) and 33 passes defended. In 1997, Smith tied an NFL record when he returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game versus Tampa Bay (12/14). In the fourth game of the 1999 season, Smith fractured his clavicle and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

In 1996, Smith played in 11 games for the Patriots, including six starts, and recorded 31 tackles, two interceptions and one sack. He also started all three of the Patriots postseason games during 1996, including Super Bowl XXXI. In the AFC Championship game against Jacksonville, he recovered a fumble and returned it 47 yards for the final score in the Patriots 20-6 victory.
Smith played in 11 games and started 10 with the Jets during the 1995 season. He led the team and was second in the AFC with six interceptions. He also registered 47 tackles and 14 passes defended.

Smith was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie free agent on April 25, 1990. He spent five years with the Eagles (1990-94) and played in 52 games, including four starts. He was credited with 60 tackles, intercepted four passes and returned one for a touchdown.

Rawlings, 23, saw action in two games for the Chiefs this preseason at offensive tackle. He originally signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent on April 20, 2000. The 6-foot-3-inch, 305-pound tackle was a three-year letterman at Minnesota (1997-99). He moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard during his senior season. During his senior season he started all 11 games at right tackle for the Gophers. Rawlings was put on waivers by the Chiefs on August 21, 2000.

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