FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Punter Ken Walter, who was out of the NFL all last season, re-signed Wednesday with the New England Patriots.

He could play Sunday against the Chicago Bears in place of Josh Miller, who is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Walter played for the Patriots from 2001 to 2003, then spent the last six regular-season games and one playoff contest the next season with Seattle. In his eight NFL seasons, he is averaging 39.7 yards per punt since being signed by Carolina in 1997 as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State.

Walter also held for placekicker Adam Vinatieri when they were with the Patriots, and could fill those duties now held by Miller. To make room for Walter on the roster, the Patriots released rookie cornerback Antwain Spann.

AP-ES-11-22-06 1634EST

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