Steelers announce practice squad

The Steelers announced their eight-man practice squad Sunday afternoon. Also, the Green Bay Packers picked up a former running back.

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms with eight players for their practice squad today.

Seven of the eight practice squad players participated in the Steelers' training camp this year, including WR Dallas Baker, TE Jon Dekker, S Grant Mason, DE Ryan McBean, DT Scott Paxson, C Marvin Philip and WR Gerran Walker. RB Jamaal Branch, who spent the 2007 preseason in the New Orleans Saints training camp, is the only player on the Steelers' practice squad who was not in the team's preseason camp.

Branch was a fan favorite in New Orleans, but the Saints couldn't find room for him in their crowded backfield.

Branch is a 5-foot-11, 230-pounder whom the Saints used at both halfback and fullback this summer.

After surprising the Saints at their 2006 training camp, Branch was signed to their practice squad before being promoted to the roster for the final two regular season games and the playoffs. He was active for only one game and gained 29 yards on 10 carries against Carolina.

Known to have soft hands as a receiver out of the backfield, Branch caught a pass for a 12-yard gain against the Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game. He had two catches this preseason for 23 yards, made two special-teams tackles and had no carries.

The 26-year-old is a former Walter Payton Award winner. The award honors the Division 1-AA Player of the Year, and Branch, of Colgate, won the award in 2003 after rushing for 2,326 yards on 450 carries and 29 touchdowns -- all D-1AA records.

In other news around the league, the Green Bay Packers signed RB-FB John Kuhn after placing another former Steeler, Noah Herron, on injured reserve. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers meanwhile claimed CB Anthony Madison off waivers from Pittsburgh.

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