Walter to punt for Patriots after Miller placed on IR
The New England Patriots on Friday placed ailing punter Josh Miller on injured reserve, ending the season for the 11-year veteran. Miller, 36, has been hampered in recent weeks by a shoulder injury that had affected his performance.
Miller will be replaced by a familiar face, eight-year veteran Ken Walter, who punted for the Patriots 2001-03.
The Patriots signed Walter late last week as a contingency in case Miller was unable to punt in the team's game at Green Bay. Miller played in the game, but the shoulder has continued to be a problem this week in practice and finally worsened to the point where New England coaches felt a change was necessary.
Ironically, Walter was replaced by Miller in 2004. He was forced to retire because of a shoulder problem, but his physical situation improved and he began auditioning for teams a few weeks ago in hopes of making a comeback.
In stints with Carolina (1997-2000), New England (2001-03) and Seattle (2004), Walter has appeared in 112 games. He has career gross punting average of 39.7 yards and a net average of 36.9 yards.
Miller is one of the most prolific punter recent league history. In 164 appearances, he has a 43.1-yard gross average and a net average of 35.9 yards. Miller has never had a punt blocked and has 247 kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line and just 83 touchbacks.
In 10 games this season, Miller averaged 43.0 gross yards and 35.8 net yards, with 12 kicks inside the 20 and seven touchbacks.
A former University of Arizona standout, Miller has the second-best gross average (43.6) yards in New England franchise history.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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