FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed free agent punter Ken Walter today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Walter, a veteran of eight NFL seasons, played in 42 regular-season games and six playoff games for the Patriots over three seasons from 2001-03. The Patriots also announced the release of first-year cornerback Antwain Spann from the roster.
Walter, 34, has played in 112 career regular-season games and seven playoff games for the Carolina Panthers (1997-2000), New England Patriots (2001-03) and Seattle Seahawks (2004). The 6-foot-1-inch, 207-pound punter has recorded 510 career punts for 20,228 yards (39.7 avg), and has placed 158 punts inside the 20-yard line with just 27 career touchbacks. Walter was originally signed by Carolina as an undrafted free agent from Kent State in the spring of 1997. He played in all 64 games over four seasons with the Panthers from 1997-2000. He was released by Carolina in the spring of 2001 and was signed as a free agent by the Patriots on Oct. 17, 2001. He played in the final 11 games of the 2001 regular season for the Patriots and appeared in all three of the team's playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI. That season, Walter tied his career high with a net average of 38.1 yards on his 49 punts. In 2002, Walter served as New England's punter for all 16 games and punted in 15 games in 2003. He participated in all three playoff games following the 2003 season, including Super Bowl XXXVIII. Walter became a free agent following the 2003 playoffs and was signed by Seattle on Nov. 24, 2004. Walter handled the Seahawks' punting duties for the final six regular-season games of the 2004 season and also played in Seattle's one playoff contest that season. He became a free agent following the 2004 playoffs and was out of football in 2005.
Spann, 23, made his NFL debut with the Patriots on Oct. 1, 2006 and has played in five career games while recording five special teams tackles. The 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback was originally signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette on April 17, 2005. He joined the Patriots' practice squad on Jan. 2, 2006. He was signed to New England's active roster on Sept. 30, was released on Nov. 6 and re-joined the practice squad on Nov. 7. He was re-signed to the active roster on Nov. 18 and played in last weekend's game at Green Bay, recording one special teams tackle.