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Packers Augment Depth, Talent At QB, Agree To Terms With Akili Smith


Augmenting their experience and depth at quarterback with training camp only five weeks away, the Green Bay Packers have agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Bengal Akili Smith as a free agent, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced Friday.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Smith, Cincinnati's first-round selection in the 1999 draft (the third player chosen overall), had been placed on waivers last week, ending his four-year tenure with the Bengals.

Smith joins veterans Doug Pederson and Craig Nall and first-year players Eric Crouch and Zak Kustok in the competition for the right to back up 12-year starter Brett Favre at quarterback.

The 27-year-old San Diego native had been active for one game during the 2002 season, completing 12 of 33 passes for 117 yards as Cincinnati's starter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 29. He also rushed 4 times for 5 yards.

In his four seasons with the Bengals the former University of Oregon field general passed for 2,212 yards and 5 touchdowns in 22 games, compiling a 52.8 passer rating.

Smith had his most productive year as a professional in 2000, when he started a career-high 11 games, completing 118 of 267 passes (a 44.2 percentage) for 1,253 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 6 interceptions. He also rushed for 232 yards in 41 attempts, a 5.7-yard average, with a long of 21 yards.

As a collegian at Oregon, the San Diego native forged one of the most impressive years of any passer in NCAA history, averaging 314 passing yards per game and 10.14 yards per attempt during the 1998 season, with 32 touchdowns as opposed to only 8 interceptions. En route, he set school records for total passing yards (3,763) and total offense (3,947).

A multi-sport prep star, Smith elected to play professional baseball coming out of San Diego's Lincoln High School, signing with Pittsburgh as a seventh-round selection in the June 1993 amateur draft. A right-handed hitting outfielder, he batted .200 in 29 games with the Pirates' Gulf Coast rookie-level team at Bradenton, Fla., in 1993., and subsequently hit .174 in 19 games for Bradenton in '94 and .125 in 14 games for Erie, Pa., of the New York-Penn League before deciding to focus on football.

A Parade All-American at Lincoln High, which also produced NFL standouts Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis, Smith was named San Diego's athlete of the year as a senior.

Smith has been assigned jersey No. 11. His full name is Kabisa Akili Maradufu Smith (Swahili for power, creativity and intelligence). It is pronounced "kuh-BEE-suh uh-KEE-lee marr-uh-DOO-foo."

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