Veteran running back officially in the fold

The Packers officially announced the signing of running back Ki-Jana Carter to a one-year contract today. The No. 1 pick of the 1995 NFL draft will compete with a handful of other running backs on the roster when training camp opens in late July to back up Ahman Green.<p>

Carter rushed for 308 yards in 63 attempts, a 4.9-yard average, for the Washington Redskins in 2001, posting three touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 83 yards.

Carter, who will turn 29 on Sept. 12, will compete with Jason Brookins, signed by the Packers in late May, Rondell Mealey, Herbert "Whisper" Goodman, and Tony Fisher for spot behind Green. The Packers have been seeking a backup for Green since releasing veteran Dorsey Levens in February.

Carter backed up Stephen Davis last season in Washington and was out of football in 2000. He has been hampered by injuries since he began his pro career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Carter reportedly will receive a salary of $525,000 if he makes the 53-man roster, but count just $450,000 against the salary cap.

The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Carter was not re-signed by the Redskins after the 2001 season. A possessor of 4.39 speed in the '40,' he had his best year to date with the Bengals in 1997, rushing for 464 yards and 7 touchdowns on 128 attempts.

Carter spent his rookie season on injured reserve after suffering a torn knee ligament in the preseason. He returned to play in all 16 games for the Bengals in 1996 and in 15 games in 1997 before sitting out all but one contest in 1998 after suffering a broken wrist in the opening game of the season. Carter played in three games in 1999 before being placed on injured reserve on September 29 with a dislocated knee cap, and subsequently was also out of football for the 2000 season. He signed with the Redskins as a free agent on August 1, 2001.

Carter has played in 49 games overall and started 14, carrying the football 290 times for 1,055 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also has made 65 pass receptions for 458 yards and one touchdown.

A consensus first-team All-American in 1994, his final season at Penn State, Carter bypassed his last year of college eligibility to enter the NFL draft. He had rushed for 1,539 yards in '94, setting school records for season average (7.8) and 100-yard games (9). Carter capped that stellar season by rushing for 156 yards in 21 attempts and scoring 3 touchdowns in the Nittany Lions' Rose Bowl victory over Oregon.

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