Notes: Packers fill roster with Steele

After spending the end of last week with 52 players on the 53-man roster, the Packers promoted Ben Steele from the practice squad Wednesday. The signing gives the Packers four tight ends on the active roster, as Steele joins Bubba Franks, David Martin and Sean McHugh.

The Packers were a player short after releasing the veteran tight end Steve Bush in the days leading up to the Carolina game.

With Steele, the Packers actually have 54 players on the roster. Cornerback Mike McKenzie, however, was given a two-week exemption upon ending his holdout.

Steele, 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds out of Mesa State, was signed to the practice squad Sept. 7 after being among the Minnesota Vikings' final cuts. His first taste of the NFL came in San Francisco as an undrafted free agent in 2001.

In other practice-squad moves, the Packers re-signed preseason rushing leader Walter Williams and assigned him to the Rhein Fire for the 2004 NFL Europe season. Williams was released Sept. 4.

Colin Cole, a first-year defensive tackle who was among the Lions' final cuts, practiced Wednesday although the team did not announce his addition to the practice squad. He will fill out the eight-player squad in the wake of Wednesday's release of undrafted rookie quarterback Scott McBrien. The left-hander threatened to win a spot on the regular roster out of training camp but lost out to Craig Nall.

NFL HONORS BARNETT

After tallying seven tackles, a sack and an interception in Monday night's romp at NFC champion Carolina, middle linebacker Nick Barnett was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday. He helped the Packers limit Carolina's powerful rushing game to just 38 yards. Barnett won the honor once as a rookie last season.

BEARS-PACKERS INJURY REPORT

Here is the preliminary injury report, as released by the league:

Chicago — OUT: CB Jerry Azumah (neck); LB Marcus Reese (hamstring); G Rex Tucker (elbow). QUESTIONABLE: CB R.W. McQuarters (ankle).

Green Bay — OUT: DT Grady Jackson (knee). DOUBTFUL: DT Kenny Peterson (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: RB Najeh Davenport (hamstring); LB Torrance Marshall (hamstring). PROBABLE: T Kevin Barry (ankle); LB Paris Lenon (thumb); TE David Martin (quadricep); LB Hannibal Navies (shoulder).

For Chicago, Azumah is their top cornerback but he's out until November after neck surgery. McQuarters is starting in Azumah's place and serves as a dangerous punt returner. He is coming off a hamstring injury that limited him during training camp. Tucker starts at guard.

For Green Bay, Jackson is out 3-4 weeks with his dislocated left kneecap. Of the rest of the injured list, only Lenon (broken thumb) practiced. Also sitting out was running back Ahman Green, as Packers coach Mike Sherman elected to rest the Pro Bowler after a 33-rush debut at Carolina.


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