Veteran backup Pederson gets a new contract

The Green Bay Packers have signed veteran quarterback Doug Pederson and second-year defensive tackle Rod Walker to contracts for the 2002 season, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced.<p>

The 34-year-old Pederson, who had been an unrestricted free agent, returns for his tenth NFL season, his sixth with the Packers.

Walker, acquired from Tennessee the week prior to the opening of the 2001 regular season, was signed as an exclusive rights free agent.

Pederson is best known in Packer circles as quarterback Brett Favre's understudy. Pederson backed up the "ironman" Favre at throughout the 2001 season, appearing in all 16 regular-season games and both of the Packers' playoff contests as the highly reliable holder for field goal and point-after-touchdown placements. Pederson made two brief appearances at quarterback in regular season games - at Carolina (9/30) and against Cleveland (12/23) - and kneeled down on the final snap of the Divisional playoff loss at St. Louis (1/20). He did not throw a pass during the season.

Although he 6-3, 220-pound Northeast Louisiana alum had no passing attempts during the regular season, Pederson completed 66.7 percent of his passes (26 of 39) during the preseason, throwing for 272 yards and 1 touchdown, with 1 interception, for a team-high 84.6 passer rating. Pederson, who began his NFL career with Miami in 1993, previously had been Favre's backup in 1998 following two-plus seasons as Green Bay's third QB. Between his stays in Green Bay, he was with Philadelphia in 1999 and Cleveland in 2000, starting nine games for the Eagles and eight for the Browns.

The 6-3, 320-pound Walker, acquired from Tennessee on September 2, 2001, for a seventh-round choice in the upcoming 2002 draft, was behind nose tackle Gilbert Brown on the Packer depth chart, playing in 11 regular-season games as a reserve. Walker was inactive for five other contests, as well as both playoff games. The 26-year-old Troy State alumnus registered a career-high four stops against the Bears at Chicago November 11 when Brown left the game early because of a continuing groin/quad problem. Walker finished the season with 15 tackles.


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