Niners reach agreement with veteran punter Rouen
Thirteen-year veteran punter Tom Rouen, released by the Seattle Seahawks last week, reached a contract agreement on Thursday with the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year deal and will compete in summer training camp with incumbent Andy Lee for the job.
Rouen, 38, will be joining his fourth different NFL franchise after punting for the Seahawks the past three seasons. In 2005, Rouen averaged 41.6 yards gross and 35.0 yards net on 61 kicks.
The former University of Colorado standout began his career with the Denver Broncos in 1993 and spent nine seasons with the team. He played for Pittsburgh in 2002 and then signed with the Seahawks in 2003. The Seahawks decided to go younger at the position for 2006 and selected Ryan Plackemeier of Wake Forest in the sixth round of this year's draft. He will compete with journeyman Gabe Lindstrom in camp.
In 13 seasons, Rouen, regarded as one of the best directional and hang-time punters in the league over the last decade, has a 43.4-yard gross average and a net average of 36.2 yards. He has 243 kicks inside the 20-yard line and only 89 touchbacks.
In 810 kicks, Rouen has never suffered a blocked punt.
Lee has averaged 41.6 yards gross and 35.8 yards net in his two seasons with the 49ers. The former University of Pittsburgh punter, a sixth-round pick in the 2004 draft, has 40 punts inside the 20-yard line and 11 touchbacks.
Financial details of Rouen's contract were not available. Rouen generated varying degrees of interest from a few other teams before signing with the 49ers.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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