Defensive tackle re-signs

The Green Bay Packers Monday re-signed unrestricted free-agent defensive lineman Larry Smith and signed free agent punter Nathan Chapman.<p>

Smith, 29, was originally signed in early October last year after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Along with Grady Jackson, Smith was one of the keys in helping the Packers' run defense improve to 10th in the league. The Packers were ranked 21st against the run in 2002.

Smith reportedly signed a one-year contract worth $535,000.

Smith, who can play end or tackle, played in 10 regular season games and both playoff games. He finished with 12 total tackles, one sack and one pass defensed in 2003 and averaged 26 snaps per game.

Jacksonville selected Smith (6-foot-5, 310 pounds) in the second round (56th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Florida State. But Smith fell out of favor in Jacksonville because of his attitude toward conditioning himself and was eventually released.

Chapman (6-2, 190) is believed to be the first Australian-born player on the Packers' roster, according to team historian Lee Remmel. He experience in both Australian Rules Football and Gridiron, an American football club league in the country. He will be competing against Travis Dorsch and Travis Hale.

Chapman, 28, came to Green Bay after a series of networking events, according to the Packers. In December, several officials from Chapman's former team, the Hawthorn Football Club, visited Lambeau Field and met with Packers front-office executives, including director of scouting John Dorsey.

Three weeks ago, Chapman's friend saw his former coach, Peter Schwab, on a television interview talking about the meeting with Dorsey. Chapman contacted Dorsey and used his portfolio, complete with an impressive video resume from performances in two Ray Guy kicking camps last May, to score a workout last week in Green Bay. Highly impressed by Chapman's control, leg strength and hand-eye coordination, the Packers signed him and will bring him to their post-draft mini-camp to compete with Dorsch and Hale. The three punters are bidding to replace Josh Bidwell, an unrestricted free agent who signed with Tampa Bay earlier this month.

Chapman and his wife, Brittany, make their home in Queensland, Australia.


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