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NFL's oldest cornerback starts third stint with Pats

New England Patriots: Venerable cornerback Otis Smith, an unrestricted free agent who has played with four different teams in 14 seasons, is back for a third stint with the New England Patriots.

Smith, 38, on Tuesday agreed to a contract that returns him to a club for which he played in 1996 and then again 2000-2002. Contract details were not immediately available, but it is believed the deal is for one year, with a base salary of $760,000.

The league's oldest cornerback, Smith was released by the Patriots last summer, and then signed with the Detroit Lions. He played in all 16 games, started 13 contests, and had one interception, five passes defensed and 57 tackles for the Lions in '03.

He will provide experience and depth to the New England cornerback spot and also lend some insurance in the event star corner Ty Law does not report for offseason sessions.

During his 14 seasons, Smith, a longtime favorite of coach Bill Belichick, has appeared in 178 games and started 108 of them. He has posted 508 tackles, 29 interceptions and 107 passes defensed.

During the Patriots' run to the 2002 Super Bowl, Smith's interception of St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner in the set up a field goal in the title game,
which New England won 20-17.

In addition to his stints with the Patriots, the former Missouri standout has played with Philadelphia (1991-94), the New York Jets (1995-96 and 1997-99), and Detroit (2003).

-- Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli was used in this report

San Francisco 49ers: The San Francisco 49ers have bolstered their offensive line depth with the addition of versatile veteran Scott Rehberg, who played the last four seasons with Cincinnati before being released earlier this offseason.

Rehberg signed a one-year contract for $660,000.

Rehberg, 30, has started at every position except center and could compete for a starting job at right guard, 49ers officials said. He has appeared in 46 games and has started in eight of them.

The former Central Michigan standout began his career with New England as a seventh-round pick in the 1997 draft. He was chosen by Cleveland in the '99 expansion draft when the Patriots left him unprotected.

-- Len Pasquarelli, senior NFL writer for ESPN.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay Bucs defensive tackle Ellis Wyms has been charged with felony mischief following a Sunday night incident in which he allegedly kicked in the passenger side door of a limo he had rented for the evening.

Wyms, 24, allegedly disputed a $100 overtime fee charged by the limo driver. The limo sustained about $1,100 in damages, according to a Hillsborough County sheriff's office spokesperson. Wyms posted $2,000 bond and was released.

The three-year veteran recently signed a new six-year, $20 million contract with the Bucs and is expected to have a greater role in 2004. He listed his job with the Bucs as "janitor" on jail documents. Team officials said they will meet with Wyms this week for discuss the incident.

-- Len Pasquarelli, senior NFL writer for ESPN.com

Minnesota Vikings: Restricted free agent Eric Kelly, a three-year veteran who in 2003 failed to start a game for the first time in his career, has re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Kelly signed a one-year contract worth $628,000, the value of the qualifying offer the Vikings made to him two months ago.

A third-round pick in the 2001 draft Kelly has never missed a game, making 48 straight appearances. He started a combined 23 games his first two seasons, but played strictly as a reserve and on special teams in 2003.

The former Kentucky star has 143 tackles, three interceptions and nine passes defensed for his career. He recorded only five tackles last season.

-- Len Pasquarelli, senior NFL writer for ESPN.com

Washington Redskins: The Redskins signed tight end Brian Kozlowski and released tight end Byron Chamberlain on
Tuesday.

Kozlowski has played 10 seasons -- the last seven with Atlanta -- and could serve as the versatile H-back coach Joe Gibbs has been seeking. Kozlowski started a career-high nine games and caught 10 passes for 87 yards last year, although he has been a reserve blocking tight end and special teams player for most of his career.

Kozlowski began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. He has 78 career catches for 917 yards and eight touchdowns.

Chamberlain, once a Pro Bowl player with Minnesota, failed to make an impact after joining the Redskins one month into last season. He was inactive for seven of 11 games and caught just four passes for 29 yards. Chamberlain was cut by the Vikings last year after serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for ephedra, a diet drug now banned by the federal government.

The Redskins also signed receiver Gari Scott, a tryout player at last month's minicamp. Scott played two seasons with Philadelphia in 2000-01 but has not made a regular-season roster the last two years.

-- Associated Press