With Pederson's advancing age — he will turn 37 on Jan. 31 — it's possible the quarterback's career has come to an inauspicious end. Pederson broke a rib, a bone in his back and tore a muscle on his side when he was shoved out of bounds and to the ground in the third quarter by Giants defensive lineman Keith Washington during his first full series of action Sunday in place of the injured Brett Favre.
Amazingly, Pederson stayed in the game for all but the game's final snap. On the preceding play, Pederson tried to throw the ball to the right flat, but the ball fell several yards short of its intended target.
Pederson's injury provides an opening for career third-stringer Craig Nall to make his case that he has a long future with the club. While Pederson's injury isn't exactly the way Nall wanted to get a promotion — Nall was supposed to battle Pederson in training camp for the final roster spot behind Favre and Tim Couch — he's not about to turn down the opportunity.
"It's not cool whenever it has to happen because somebody gets hurt. But, at the same time, it happened. ... It's a good opportunity for me to gain some experience and continue toward reaching my goal, which is to start in this league," Nall said.
After failing to make it out of training camp last summer, Smith was re-signed last year to provide depth behind injury-plagued Gilbert Brown. Smith wound up playing 10 games in a reserve role and became a valuable member of the defensive line rotation. He finished with 1 1/2 sacks but provided frequent pressure.
Smith was on pace to make the team this summer but suffered a quadriceps injury that kept him out of the final two preseason games. He was released in the final roster cutdown. With the injury finally healed, Smith worked out Wednesday before signing.
"It's been six weeks I've been out, so it's 100 percent and I'm ready to roll," said Smith, who earned plenty of frequent-flier miles by rehabbing the injury in his hometown of Jacksonville as well as in Green Bay.
Smith hopes to add some life to a lifeless defense.
"I feel like I can bring a little more intensity to the D-line (and) try to get those guys fired up."
In another move, the Packers signed cornerback Kelvin Millhouse to round out the eight-player practice squad. The Packers had a vacancy after promoting rookie center Scott Wells to fill starting center Mike Flanagan's roster spot. Flanagan was placed on injured reserve last week due to continued problems with tendinitis in his left knee.
Millhouse, a 6-1, 208-pound rookie out of Hawaii, was signed as a rookie free agent by Miami after the draft but was released Aug. 30.