Walls officially a Packer

The Packers signed former Carolina tight end Wesley Walls as a free agent Tuesday, confirming rumors of the deal which circulated prior to their preseason opener.<P>

Walls, 37, will join the team at practice Wednesday and will wear jersey No. 82, according to the team's news release.

According to several broadcast reports, Walls chose Green Bay over a more lucrative offer from the Washington Redskins. Walls told sources that he selected Green Bay in part because of his belief in the Packers' ability to win a championship.

Tampa Bay was also among teams interested in Walls. He was cut by Carolina in February.

Walls is 15-year pro and a five-time Pro Bowl selection. His 2002 season stats include 19 catches for 241 yards and a team-high four touchdown catches om 15 games with 14 starts.

The 6-foot-4 tight end has impressive career stats including 182 career games with 115 starts for San Francisco (1989-93), New Orleans (1994-95) and Carolina (1996-2002). Overall, he has 430 catches for 5,069 yards and 53 touchdowns.

More superlatives from Walls' bio: Walls is one of four tight ends in NFL history to have 400 receptions and 50 touchdowns. He is the Panthers' all-time leader in touchdowns (44) and ranks second in receiving yards (3,902) and receptions (324). Walls' 430 career receptions rank 11th in league history among tight ends.

Like his new teammate Brett Favre, Walls is a native of Mississippi. He played collegiately at Mississippi. Ole Miss is just upstate from Favre's alma mater, Southern Miss.

That's not all Walls has in common with Favre. Like his fellow Mississippian, Walls has compiled a few longevity streaks of his own, although none to rival Favre's NFL-record iron man streak. Walls compiled a skein of 70 consecutive games with a catch, a Carolina team record. Between 1994 and 2001, Walls had eight consecutive seasons with 30-plus catches and more than 400 yards receiving.

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