Packers re-sign Larry Smith

Updated: October 10, 2003, 9:59 AM ET
ESPN

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Larry Smith has another chance in the NFL, this time as a defensive end for the injury-riddled Green Bay Packers.

The Packers re-signed Smith on Thursday and released receiver/returner Reggie Swinton, whom they acquired in a trade with Dallas on Sept. 30.

Reggie McKenzie, the Packers' director of pro personnel, hated to cut Swinton but had to find a reinforcement with defensive ends Joe Johnson, Chukie Nwokorie and Aaron Kampman all sidelined.

"That's the only reason," McKenzie said. "We'll try to get him back if we can. But there's 31 other teams. Will we be able to get him back? Probably not."

The Packers thought enough of Swinton to send the Cowboys a conditional seventh-round pick in 2004 for him.

"We wanted to get a good look at him, because we think he has some talent, and he's proven he can do it," McKenzie said. "Any time you think you've got a guy that you think can help you win ... but the bottom line is that holes need to be filled."

This is Smith's second stint with the Packers, who waived him Sept. 1 after a two-week tryout at nose tackle.

Johnson (triceps), Nwokorie (shoulder) and Kampman (ankle) sat out practice Thursday and their availability for Sunday's game against Kansas City is uncertain.

So, Smith lined up at power end with the first-team defense.

"Having a couple injured guys, we just wanted to add to the strength of the whole front," defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "We'll look at him these next two days, and then we'll make all of our decisions at the end of the week."

Smith, who worked out with a personal trainer at home in Jacksonville after getting cut by the Packers, said he wouldn't have any problem stepping into the starting lineup.

"I'm ready to roll," he said. "Wherever they put me and whatever they ask me to do, I feel I can do it."

Smith was cut by Jacksonville last summer after he was tardy for practice. He had reported to the Jaguars' camp out of shape and collapsed on the field July 27 because of heat exhaustion.

A second-round draft pick by the Jaguars in 1999, he never met Jacksonville's expectations. Smith has started just seven of 51 NFL games. He had 44 career tackles and played in 15 games last season.

He can play end, defensive tackle and nose tackle and that made him appealing to the Packers even though he hasn't rushed the passer from the edge since early 2000.

Smith said he could get sufficient pass rush even at 298 pounds.

"I felt kind of rusty today. I didn't think I was going to be playing end when I came back," he said. "But I'm ready to go for it. I've played it before."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index