Paulescu to become fourth Redskins punter this season

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins will use their fourth punter this season when they play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Hunter Smith's right groin injury is acting up again, so the Redskins signed former Dallas Cowboys punter Sam Paulescu on Friday.

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Smith pulled the groin in his kicking leg during the Oct. 4 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kicker Shaun Suisham punted for the rest of that game, then Glenn Pakulak was signed to handle the next two contest.

Smith felt healthy enough to return for the Philadelphia game before last week's bye, but he reaggravated the injury on a punt during the third quarter. He was unable to kick when practice resumed this week.

Redskins coach Jim Zorn said he'll keep Smith on the 53-man roster for at least another week. If the injury appears likely to linger for the rest of the season, the Redskins probably will place Smith on injured reserve to free up a roster spot.

"It's getting to that point where I've got to make a decision," Zorn said. "And yet I still want to give him another week and see if things get strong."

Paulescu beat Reggie Hodges in a tryout Wednesday to win the job for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Paulescu played in 10 games with the Cowboys last season, averaging 41.8 yards on 53 punts. He also punted in one game with the Denver Broncos in 2007.

Smith was touted as the long-term answer to Washington's punting woes when he signed as a free agent from Indianapolis this year. He never missed a game in 10 seasons with the Colts.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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