Patriots sign a punter-in-progress

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New England announced that it has signed punter David King, a 38-year old Australian rules football player who came to the United States about a year ago to learn the art of punting.

King played for the North Melbourne Kangaroos from 1994-2004, and according to the team’s website had the “image of being a niggly in-your-face backman” — and if you can explain that to me in an email, I’d be much obliged. It just sounds kind of cool.

(Big thanks to well-traveled e-mailer Joe, who writes to say that “niggly”basically means annoying or aggressive and that a backman is a defender.)

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King played in 241 games and kicked 145 goals, twice being chosen as an Australian Football League All-Australian.

The Patriots are undoubtedly hoping King follows in the footsteps of Darren Bennett, another former Aussie rules player who was a Pro Bowl punter for the San Diego Chargers during his 11-year career.

New England had zero punters on its roster before signing King; Chris Hanson’s contract expired and he has not been signed by any team.

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