Packers bolster both sides of line

The Green Bay Packers have added depth in the trenches by signing defensive lineman Chukie Nwokorie and offensive lineman Grey Ruegamer. Both were unrestricted free agents.<p>

Nwokorie, 27, on Wednesday signed a two-year, $2.08 million contract that includes a $500,000 signing bonus. It reportedly contains $300,000 in incentive clauses as well. Terms of Ruegamer's contract were unavailable.

Nwokorie is entering his fifth season after spending his first four with the Indianapolis Colts. He suffered a neck injury during the 2002 off-season, missing the first half of the season, and wound up playing in just three games.

But Nowkorie, who signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue in 1999, still drew interest from Green Bay, which reportedly considered signing him to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent last year. Nowkorie also visited with the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints before reaching an agreement with the Packers.

"The Packers have been a team that demonstrated an interest in Chukie in the past," agent Frank Murtha told, "and he's always liked the idea of playing there."

Nowkorie (6-foot-3, 284 pounds) played in all 16 games in 2001 and has demonstrated an ability to defend the run and rush the passer, finishing with 71 tackles and five sacks. He is expected to fill a hole on the roster left by Billy Lyon, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings in early March. He will compete against Aaron Kampman and Jamal Reynolds for playing time at end and will be used at tackle on passing downs.

Ruegamer (6-3, 284) spent the past two-plus seasons with the New England Patriots. He was a third round draft choice (72nd overall) of the Miami Dolphins in 1999. He was inactive for 15 of 16 games as a rookie and released by the Dolphins during training camp in 2000. He was on the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad for the first 11 weeks of the 2000 season before signing with the Patriots.

Ruegamer, 26, is expected to play guard and center. He has lined up as a third tight end for the Patriots on passing downs. He also will be used on special teams. Ruegamer, described as "a tough, nasty kid" by his agent, Rich Moran, the former Packers guard likely will compete against Bill Ferrario for the top backup position.

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