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[Packers] Stemke joins Rams just in time for homecoming

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  • [Packers] Stemke joins Rams just in time for homecoming

    Staff, wire service reports

    Kevin Stemke, who starred as a kicker at Green Bay Preble High School in the mid-1990s, will realize a lifelong dream of playing in a regular season game at Lambeau Field when he punts for the St. Louis Rams in their game against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.

    The Rams on Friday released Sean Landeta and signed Stemke, 26, who was with the Packers during training camp as a rookie in 2001.

    “Monday night at Lambeau Field, a kid from Green Bay: that’s pretty much a dream come true there,” Stemke said.

    Stemke spent the 2002 offseason and part of that year’s training camp with the Rams, then played in two games with the Oakland Raiders later that year. He was in Washington’s training camp this year.

    The Packers passed on signing Stemke after he was released by the Redskins in late August. He was eighth in the NFL with a 44.7-yard gross average and ninth with a 38.8-yard net average on 16 punts.

    Green Bay was in need of a punter because rookie B.J. Sander averaged only 36.7 yards gross and 31.5 yards net during camp.

    The Packers instead signed 15-year veteran Bryan Barker, who is averaging 39.2 yards gross, 15th in the NFC, and 32.9 yards net.

    Reggie McKenzie, the Packers’ director of pro personnel, conceded at the time that Stemke had outperformed Sander and Barker in the preseason, but added: “Our guy’s going to be all right.”

    Stemke was in France with his wife Lizzy, a professional volleyball player, when the Rams called earlier this week. After a half-day trip to St. Louis and wearing borrowed shoes, he punted well enough on Thanksgiving Day through jet lag to impress the Rams.

    “The pressure is pretty much off now,” said Stemke, a left-footed punter who starred at the University of Wisconsin. “Either I’m going to make it or I’m not. I’m confident I can do the job and hopefully they’re confident enough in me.”

    Landeta, 42, was 10th in the NFL with a 43.3-yard gross average, but just 31st with a 32.5-yard net average this season.

    He felt he might have been the scapegoat for special teams that rank near the bottom of the NFL in punt and kickoff returns, and in kickoff and punt coverage.

    Landeta, a 20-year NFL veteran who was the Packers’ punter in 1998, hopes to catch on with another team.

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Stemke given the boot by St. Louis
    by RamWraith
    Green Bay's Kevin Stemke left 'dumbfounded' by the Rams' decision to cut him this week

    By Todd McMahon
    Another NFL off-season. Unfortunately for Kevin Stemke, yet another period of downtime consumed by an uncertain future.

    Stemke, a Green Bay native and former standout at Preble High School and the University of Wisconsin, is back on the all-too-familiar market seeking employment as a professional punter.

    The St. Louis Rams cut Stemke this week, which came as a "huge shock" to the 26-year-old and those close to him, agent Chris Murray said Tuesday night.

    "We're as dumbfounded as anybody," Murray said.

    According to Murray, Stemke learned of his impending release Friday while on the golf course with former Wisconsin kicker Vitaly Pisetsky, who was married the next day. Stemke took a call on his cell phone from first-year special teams coach Bob Ligashesky, who informed Stemke that the team had decided to part ways with their incumbent left-footed punter.

    Stemke handled the chores the last month and a half of the 2004 season, after replacing deposed veteran Sean Landeta. Stemke averaged 39.8 yards in 28 punts during his most extensive in-season NFL stint in four years.

    The Rams apparently are content to ride the right leg of rookie Reggie Hodges into the summer and possibly into next season. Hodges, a Ball State product, was taken in the sixth round of the draft last month. For now, he's the only punter on the Rams roster.

    "We actually didn't think much of (the addition of Hodges) because Kevin has been punting (in the off-season) as well as he has his entire life," Murray said.

    Figuring the selection of Hodges was intended to stir up competition for the job the next few months, Stemke never saw the walking papers coming.

    "It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense," said Murray, who pressed Rams officials for an explanation last weekend.

    He gathered from those conversations that the decision to get rid of Stemke was rendered unilaterally by head coach Mike Martz, who is on his fourth special teams coach in six years.

    "Kevin had a good rapport with the new special teams coach. (The release) just doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Murray said. "It's the biggest hammer that's been thrown down with one of my clients."

    Murray said Stemke was in St. Louis on Tuesday meeting with Ligashesky. Attempts to reach Stemke, who cleared waivers Tuesday, were unsuccessful.

    "His (initial) reaction was, 'I'm done with the NFL,'" related Murray, "but that was off the cuff. He has no intention of giving up on playing in the NFL."

    To that end, Murray is optimistic Stemke will attract interest from other teams in the coming...
    -05-12-2005, 10:01 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Chatman keeps punt return job
    by DJRamFan
    By Pete Dougherty

    Antonio Chatman has a big lead for the job as the Green Bay Packers’ punt returner, not only because the coaching staff has been lauding his play at receiver but because no other punt returners have emerged during training camp.

    The Packers were hoping that second-year pro Carl Ford, who landed on injured reserve in training camp last year with a knee injury, would prove to be a viable punt returner this year.

    But Ford never returned punts in high school or college, and has dropped at least one punt almost every day in the first two weeks of camp. Though he was still working with the punt returners Friday, those drops have all but eliminated him as a candidate for the job.

    Asked whether he could use Ford as a punt returner in a regular-season game, special teams coach John Bonamego said, “Not at this point, he’s still dropping too many balls.”

    Chatman, 25, probably will be the Packers’ No. 1 returner in the preseason opener against Seattle on Monday night, though Bonamego also wants to get a look at receiver Robert Ferguson in that role in a game.

    Chatman held the return job all last season because he had no drops, only one fumble and showed good range in catching bad punts that might have rolled if he hadn’t gotten to them.

    However, he averaged only 8.4 yards a return, which ranked 19th in the NFL, and his occasional indecisiveness left him dancing side to side rather than picking a seam and blasting toward it.

    Chatman signed with the Packers last year after playing in the Arena Football League.

    Coach Mike Sherman has said the 5-foot-9, 184-pounder looks quicker this year because he’s not worn down by having played in the winter and spring.

    Judging by the snaps he’s getting in practice, Chatman appears to be in the running with Ford and Scottie Vines for the No. 4 receiving job, but evidence that he’s more explosive this season probably will come when he returns punts in the preseason.

    “I told him in the offseason,” Sherman said, ‘I said. ‘Listen, you can’t make it as a specialist (only). You have to help us as a receiver if you want to be on the team. You have to be able to do both. I really need a guy that can do both.’ I’m not anointing him as the fourth receiver, but he’s certainly helped himself with the plays he’s made out here.”

    The Packers have used Ferguson as a punt returner in practice for the past three years even though he had no college experience. He’s returned punts in only one NFL game, at Jacksonville in 2001. He had two fair catches and one return for 4 yards.

    “He’s a little unorthodox, but he catches it,” Bonamego said of Ferguson. “He’ll catch it up over his head or off to the side, you don’t like to see that all the time, but he gets it done, he catches it.”
    -08-17-2004, 10:13 AM
  • RamWraith
    Packers: Rams may train in Madison, scrimmage Packers
    by RamWraith

    PALM BEACH, Fla. -- If the St. Louis Rams end up holding their training camp in Wisconsin, they'll likely hold a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers.

    And if the Rams do come to Wisconsin, they could be coming to Madison.

    The Rams are looking for a new training camp home, and they're considering several University of Wisconsin system schools and sites.

    The Rams moved from Macomb, Ill., home of Western Illinois University, to their suburban St. Louis facility in 2005, but Rams coach Scott Linehan wants to go away for camp this year to promote team unity.

    Linehan said during Wednesday morning's NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL meetings at The Breakers the Rams are considering UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point and "a place now in Madison maybe where the Badgers used to do training camp," meaning the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Center.

    UW hasn't practiced there since 2004, but Linehan's special assistant is Jeff Horton, who spent seven years as the Badgers' quarterbacks coach and who's been put in charge of the search for a new location.

    Horton contacted UW associate athletic director John Chadima, who then put him in touch with the O 'Connor Center.

    "Jeff called me last week," Chadima said. "I guess I was the conduit.''

    Linehan said the Rams first looked at UW-La Crosse, which used to host the New Orleans Saints' camp, and UW-Whitewater, but neither is an option. They're set to visit UW-Oshkosh next week.

    "We favored La Crosse because of their facility, but they're going through a renovation, so that's not going to happen, not this year," Linehan said. "We looked at Whitewater, but apparently they 've got a facility issue. (So) we're looking at Oshkosh, Stevens Point and a place now in Madison maybe where the Badgers used to do training camp.''

    Linehan said the Rams plan to decide "in the next week to 10 days" whether they will move their camp to Wisconsin. If they do, the teams could practice together in Green Bay, likely in conjunction with the Packers' annual intrasquad scrimmage.

    Linehan said practicing with the Packers would be "very beneficial. We'd like to do that. You're changing the competitive nature of the camp, and it's a good break after six or seven days into training camp."

    Packers coach Mike McCarthy talked to the Kansas City Chiefs, who hold their training camp in River Falls, last summer but decided against inviting coach Herman Edwards' team to Green Bay. The Packers are adamant any joint workout would have to be in Green Bay, and there would be no reciprocity the following year with the Packers traveling to that team's camp.

    McCarthy gave the impression at his breakfast Q&A that he's leaning toward the joint workout. The Packers and Buffalo Bills got...
    -04-02-2008, 05:59 PM
  • RamsFan16
    Packers release Hunt
    by RamsFan16
    Packers | Hunt Released
    Sat, 3 Sep 2005 17:28:12 -0700

    The Green Bay Packers announced DL Cletidus Hunt was released from the team.


    Do you think if for the right price we should go for him? I mean he is a very good DT that stops the run. He would definelty make an immediate precense
    -09-03-2005, 09:02 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Packers] Packers relish Rams' visit
    by DJRamFan
    AP Sports Writer
    GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers finally have the St. Louis Rams right where they want them: at Lambeau Field, on grass, in freezing weather.

    Forgive Brett Favre if he's not jumping for joy.

    "Well, I would much rather play them here than at their place. We haven't had much success at their place, and there's no guarantee that we will here," Favre said. "I think it's going to be a very difficult game. Either way. Here or there."

    That might be, but he tied an NFL playoff record by throwing six interceptions at St. Louis 22 months ago, then broke his right thumb there last year.

    The desperate Rams (5-5), who have lost three of four games, face the surging Packers (6-4), winners of five straight, on Monday night in a crucial game for two teams hoping to display some playoff pedigree in the jumbled NFC.

    The Packers are banged up in both backfields, which might very well negate any home-field advantage _ something that sure was missing the last time they played at home on a Monday night, a 48-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 11.

    "We'd like to erase that memory with a special Monday night performance and get rid of some of those ghosts we have from earlier in the season," Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman said.

    The problems with the Rams go back to Jan. 20, 2002, when Favre threw those half-dozen interceptions in a 28-point playoff loss.

    In October 2003, Favre broke his right thumb in a loss at St. Louis. Because he decided to play the rest of the season with a splint instead of having season-ending surgery, he kept alive his consecutive starts streak, which will reach 200 in the regular season Monday night, 219 counting the playoffs.

    Few teams have had Favre's number like the Rams, who capitalized on 12 Packers turnovers to outscore Green Bay 79-41 in their last two meetings.

    So the Packers have been looking forward to this night ever since the schedule came out.

    "They're a different team, as everyone knows, indoors," safety Darren Sharper said. "The fact that we have them at home hopefully will play into our favor. But we're just happy to see them because they put a whooping on us last year and we'd like to get a little payback."

    Payback? Guard Mark Tauscher is thinking more along the lines of a setback.

    "You can't do anything about what happened last year, or the year before," he said. "But we can give them a big setback and knock them off here and really give ourselves a big boost because anytime you struggle against somebody and then you get over that hump, that's big emotionally."

    Just like back in the 1990s, when the Packers lost seven straight to the Dallas Cowboys, three times in the playoffs...
    -11-29-2004, 01:21 PM