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Patriots punter Walter out for the season

FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots are in search of a punter for the second time this season after placing Ken Walter on injured reserve yesterday, ending his season. The loss of Walter also affects the team's field goal unit, as he was valued for his expertise as Stephen Gostkowski's holder.

Walter injured his foot in Sunday's victory over the Texans, but he played through the pain after jamming it into the FieldTurf while running down the field after a first-quarter punt. After the game, he indicated that he didn't feel the injury would have long-term implications.

The Patriots worked out a possible replacement at Gillette Stadium yesterday, taking a look at 44-year-old Sean Landeta. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a background with Landeta from their time together with the New York Giants in the 1980s.

Former Bronco and Seahawk Tom Rouen is one of the other experienced free agent punters currently available. The Patriots also could turn to rookie Danny Baugher (University of Arizona), who is on their practice squad.

Walter, 34, was signed by the Patriots Nov. 22, replacing Josh Miller, who moved to the IR with a shoulder injury. Belichick said Walter's abilities as a holder on field goals played a significant factor in bringing him back for his second stint with the team. Gostkowski was 7 of 7 with Walter as his holder, which included a season-long 52-yarder against Chicago Nov. 26.

Backup quarterback Matt Cassel could be called upon to hold, depending on whom the Patriots sign as their new punter.

Walter, who totaled 16 punts over the last four games (only six of which were returned), becomes the 14th player to be placed on injured reserve since the start of training camp, a group that includes core special teams players Don Davis, Tebucky Jones, and Mel Mitchell.

The Patriots also waived safety Guss Scott yesterday. Scott had been promoted from the practice squad before Sunday's game, and appeared in the team's 40-7 win.

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