Steele returns; Walker placed on IR

Franks questionable for Sunday's game with knee injury

With Bubba Franks listed as questionable because of a badly bruised knee, the Green Bay Packers today re-signed tight end Ben Steele. To make room for Steele, the Packers placed wide receiver Javon Walker on injured reserve.

Steele returns to Green Bay after getting released by the team in the final cutdown to 53 players on Sept. 3. The Packers currently have four tight ends on the team. David Martin and Donald Lee are the other two tight ends.

Steele served as a backup tight end in 2004 after being promoted from the practice squad early in the season. In 15 games, he contributed four receptions for 42 yards and 17 special teams tackles.

Franks has played in all 82 regular-season games since the Packers made him their first-round draft pick in 2000. The streak is in jeopardy, though, after Franks sustained a bruised left knee in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Cleveland.

Franks was walking with crutches after the game, and he didn't participate in the team's running drills Monday. He was not expected to practice today, and his status for the upcoming game against Tampa Bay is up in the air.

"Bubba always finds a way to get on the field, and hopefully, this is one of those ways this time," said Packers coach Mike Sherman.

Martin, Franks' top backup, is recovering from a neck stinger suffered in the last game, though he's expected to be ready for Sunday.

Steele has remained in Green Bay since his release from the team. He had a workout with the San Diego Chargers last week, but was not signed.

Steele was second on the Packers in receptions during the preseason, catching six passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. His knowledge of the Packers' offense and his availability were the main reasons Sherman wanted him back.

Steele said that getting released earlier this month took him by surprise.

"I thought I played well in the preseason," Steele said. "Obviously, whatever decision was made was out of my control. I felt I did enough to make myself feel happy. I can only answer to myself. I was confident that I played well. Outside of that, I can't control anything, but I'm here now. I'll contribute where I can and play the role that I'm given."

Walker sustained a season-ending knee injury in the season-opener on Sept. 11 in Detroit. The fourth-year receiver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

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