Steele Rewarded For His Persistence


In most cases, it's understandable to give up on something when you've tried it for more than three years. If Ben Steele had done that, however, he wouldn't be a Green Bay Packer today.

Steele, who went undrafted out of tiny Mesa State in 2001, could have given up plenty of times when he was let go by three different teams. He could have moved on to a career in broadcasting, a field in which he studied in college or he simply could have walked away knowing an NFL career just wasn't meant to be.

But none of that would have been what Ben Steele is all about.

The 6-5, 250-pound tight end stood by his goal of making an NFL roster and this season he came very close to doing that with the Minnesota Vikings. In his second training camp with the team, the organization liked what they saw but just didn't have room for him on their roster. When Steele became available, the Packers scooped him up and signed him to their practice squad.

When asked why Steele didn't give up, the soft spoken tight end said he just wasn't raised that way.

"It crossed my mind to move on, but I was always brought up to persist and if you want it bad enough you will find a way to achieve your goals," Steele explained.

"I just always felt like it would be easy to walk away if I felt like I wasn't good enough to play in the NFL, but it never got to that point because I always felt like, with the right opportunity, I could produce in the NFL. I just needed someone to give me that chance."

The Packers did just that when they elevated him to the active roster less than two weeks into the season before the team took on the Bears. He wasted no time in getting in on the action, either. It wasn't surprising that he played in the Chicago contest on special teams, but it was a testament to Steele's ability when he received repetitions at tight end as well.

Steele admitted that his promotion may have caught him just a bit off guard, but he handled it well.

"I was surprised a little bit at coming in and playing, but you have to take advantage of opportunities when you get them," Steele said. "I have an opportunity right now and I just have to learn the plays and the offense and learn to do whatever I can to help the team."

For now at least, that role has mainly been a special teams one, which Steele has accepted.

"I have two good tight ends ahead of me so my role is to contribute on special teams, Steele said. "I'm going to do what I can and watch all the film I can to make myself better and make the team better. Special teams are a big part of the game. We can contribute just as much as the offense and defense so I'm happy to be a part of that."

The Packers are happy to have Steele in the fold as well. Before they signed him, Steele thought the Vikings might come calling again, but he wasn't interested anyway.

"Sometimes in life you have to take a chance on things," Steele explained. "I felt I had a better opportunity here. I wanted to take a chance somewhere else and get an opportunity to get on the field and Green Bay was one of my choices."

Steele insisted he has no ill feelings toward his former employer and gushes when he talks about his new team.

"It's an honor to be here," Steele explained. "In NFL history, this is Titletown, so it's awesome to just be on the field that so many of the NFL's greatest players have played on.

"It's pretty awesome playing here. I haven't played much offense but just being around the guys is great. Catching balls from a future Hall of Fame quarterback is definitely an honor."

According to Steele, Green Bay is special for reasons other than football, too.

"I grew up in a small town and Green Bay fits that mold," Steele explained. "The town itself and the people are very genuine, from the equipment managers, to the trainers, to the coaches and the team itself. Everyone is just a class act and very professional.

"From day one that I've been here, I have nothing but good things to say about it. It's unbelievable. This is a special place and I'm grateful to be here and hope to stay here for long time."

While most people would have walked away from the game after so many failed attempts, Steele stuck with it. It now looks like he made the right decision after all.

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