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Hunter Smith returns as Redskins punter

Punter Hunter Smith is back.

The Redskins re-signed Smith, who stabilized the position last season, and placed injured punter Josh Bidwell (hip) on the season-ending injured-reserve list. Disappointed in the offseason when the Redskins did not offer him a contract, Smith returned to familiar surroundings Tuesday eager to work.

"My wife and I, we really enjoyed living here, I enjoyed playing for this team, and we thought it was a good fit early on," Smith said. "As is typically the case, these sort of things have a way of shaking out. And it has. So we are very happy to be back."

The Redskins originally signed Smith, 33, prior to the 2009 season. He averaged 41.3 yards per punt and placed 23 inside the 20-yard line.

After finishing worst in the league in punting in 2008, the Redskins had a top unit during the 2009 season. Smith had the highest net average (36.8 yards) of a Redskins punter in 10 seasons and played a key role in the improvement of the coverage team via effective hang time. Washington allowed no punts to be blocked. Smith rushed for one touchdown and passed for another.

But the new regime, under the direction of Coach Mike Shanahan, brought in Bidwell, who was the team's only punter in training camp. After Bidwell, who missed the 2009 season because of a hip problem, suffered another hip injury during individual warm-ups before the Week 3 loss to St. Louis, Smith was among a group of punters who worked out for the team at Redskins Park.

"The league will quit everyone at some point," said Smith, who is beginning his 12th season. "But it chose to not quit us this year, so we're happy to be back and excited to move forward."

Despite his success in his first season with Washington, Smith sat out three games because of a groin injury. Smith, who did not miss a game in his first 10 seasons, all with Indianapolis, takes pride in his conditioning, and said he wanted to play again this season because "I'm not an old guy. I had an injury that I felt was kind of crippling for a few games. Getting that rehabbed and all the way better, and being a hundred percent, it's great to be back and get back on the field."

In an attempt to remain sharp, Smith worked with a personal trainer while waiting for the phone to ring. He said he has punted twice a week and exercised and run twice a week. "You work harder unsigned because you're on your own schedule," Smith said. You're able to do your own thing."

Smith will be ready Sunday to punt against Green Bay at FedEx Field. "When you get the call, you're excited," Smith said. "If you're a first- or second-year player, it's one thing. At this stage of my career, I'm just wanting to get back on a team and help somebody win and move toward making the playoffs."

By Jason Reid  | October 7, 2010; 12:24 PM ET
Categories:  Brandon Banks, Special teams  
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Next: RB Quinn Porter signed to the practice squad

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The revolving door that is the Washington Redskins' backfield remains in motion as the team has replaced Javarris James on the practice squad with fellow rookie Quinn Porter.

James spent Wednesday with the Redskins and practiced with the team, but last night was signed by the Indianapolis Colts and added to their active roster. (Under NFL rules, a player that is on a team's practice squad is free to sign with another NFL team for the purpose of being added to that second squad's 53-man roster).

The Redskins on Tuesday re-signed Keiland Williams to the practice squad and added James as well because Clinton Portis is expected to miss four to six weeks with a third-degree groin separation. But James' departure left a void for another back, and Washington picked up Porter.

"It feels good to be given another opportunity," said Porter, who spent training camp and the preseason with the Green Bay Packers, whom the Redskins face on Sunday. "I was out for four weeks with an MCL sprain, but came in, passed all those tests this morning, I'm back at 110 percent and ready to ball. My expectations are to get some playing time this fall. It's ironic that I'm playing my old team, the Packers. If coach gives me a chance, a little run, a little inside zone play, I can manage against the 3-4, since I'm familiar with their scheme and personnel."

Porter added that he knew playing on Sunday was unlikely, but said he'll do his best to work hard in practice and beat the odds.

Porter lettered four years at D-II's Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Ala.). He rushed for 2,788 yards and 24 touchdowns on 511 carries (5.5 yard average) during his career. He also had 68 catches for 887 yards and 12 touchdowns. And he averaged 32.0 yards a kick off return.

As he mentioned, it won't be surprising if the Redskins pick Quinn's brain about the Packers. What's ironic is the Colts, who signed James after one practice with the Redskins, come to Washington next week.

While Quinn's chances of being promoted to the 53-man roster this week are slim, Keiland Williams' are not. He has -- and will continue -- to compete with Chad Simpson in practice for the top backup role to Torain.

"Any time you lose a vital part of the team, it's disappointing, but at the same time, it's an opportunity and you work hard and try to step up and make plays," Williams said.

He and Simpson both said that Redskins coaches had yet to indicate to them how they figure into the game-plan (or in Williams' case, if he does) for Sunday.

Posted by: gr8fullted | October 7, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hunter was awesome at putting it in the 20. Unlike Derrick 'Net 15' Frost.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | October 7, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

that was from Mike Jones at TBDskins...just to give credit where credit is due...

Posted by: gr8fullted | October 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

that was from Mike Jones at TBDskins...just to give credit where credit is due...

Posted by: gr8fullted | October 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

that was from Mike Jones at TBDskins...just to give credit where credit is due...

Posted by: gr8fullted | October 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like a redundant Punter post. I got more out of gratefulted's comment than the actual RI posting!

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | October 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

damn multiple posts, sorry

Posted by: gr8fullted | October 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ted...Where was that article from again? :)

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | October 7, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to float a trade idea:

Shawne Merriman for DT11.

Buzz is Meriman may be on the block or cut soon, so why not? Sure he's looked terrible since coming back, but who knows, a change of scenery may do him well and he's 3-4 guy.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | October 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I never understood the love for Bidwell. Hunter was very good last year and we are lucky to get him back.

Posted by: Iamhumongous | October 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

What's the best -- or any -- sports bars on Maui and Ohau where I can catch the Redskins games?

Kaneohe Skins Fan... wake up m'fer! Time Zones my azz

Posted by: dpc2003 | October 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to float a trade idea:

Shawne Merriman for DT11.

Buzz is Meriman may be on the block or cut soon, so why not? Sure he's looked terrible since coming back, but who knows, a change of scenery may do him well and he's 3-4 guy.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | October 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, his four sacks over the last three years will REALLY help us out. Check his stats. Pass!

Posted by: stwasm | October 7, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to float a trade idea:

Shawne Merriman for DT11.

Buzz is Meriman may be on the block or cut soon, so why not? Sure he's looked terrible since coming back, but who knows, a change of scenery may do him well and he's 3-4 guy.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | October 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, his four sacks over the last three years will REALLY help us out. Check his stats. Pass!

Posted by: stwasm | October 7, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd take the bait if there was a decent draft pick involved as well, there wouldn't be though, DT11 doesn't yield that much.

Also, not sure if merriman fits the mold of a shanahan kind of player.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 7, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hunter the Punter is Back! Whoo hoo! Swinging Gate For The Win!

Posted by: walkdwalk | October 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Seriously tho, I am glad to have Hunter back in the fold. Lest we forget, early on last season he was our most effective offensive player.

Posted by: walkdwalk | October 7, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@dpc2003, brah,

Consider The Shack on Oahu (in Enchanted Lake/Kailua, Windward side). Frequently had to fight my way through the Broncos and Raiders hordes - even at 8 am if those teams had the early game, too - but the Skins were always on some small tv, and there were usually at least three or four of us there cheering them on/biting our fingernails.

As for Maui, someplace on/just off Front Street in Lahaina should have a tv or two geared up for NFL games . . .

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | October 7, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and nothing is better in life than getting up early for six hours of football, going to the beach for a couple hours mid-afternoon, then returning home tired and tanned for the evening game.

See if you can work a little of that aloha-style NFL Sunday for me.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | October 7, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Glad the Skins brass came to their senses and signed Hunter. Bidwell was out all of last year after major hip surgery and has been a disaster as both a punter and holder the entire season. It's hard to forget the snap going through is hands in the Dallas game which would have given the Skins a larger lead. Not to mention the number of 2nd half shanks when we needed a big punt from deep in our territory.

This was a no-brainer and Shanahan should have just signed H. Smith in the offseason to provide continuity at the position and for our young kicker Gano who needs a good holder. Glad it worked out in the end but it took 4 weeks too long.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 7, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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