Miami Dolphins Eric Steinbach retires


32-year-old guard Eric Steinbach has retired from the NFL after being recently signed by the Miami Dolphins on the 26th of July to a one-year deal. Steinbach was trying to recover from back surgery and was viewed as good veteran depth for the Dolphins, even  though he is no longer close to being what he used to be; one of the top pass-blocking guards in the game.

Steinbach has retired after eight seasons in the NFL and 124 starts in eight seasons with four being with the Cincinnati Bengals and another four with the Cleveland Browns. He was not able to make a comeback for the Dolphins, and his back has caused him to retire at a relatively young age.

At one point, Steinbach was one of the best left guards in the NFL and made good on his draft pedigree. The former Iowa Hawkeyes star was selected by the Bengals with the 33rd pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. With the Bengals, Steinbach quickly established himself as one of the top pulling guards in the league due to his athletic ability.

An All-American in college, Steinbach broke out in 2002 and was named the top offensive lineman in the Big Ten. He would start in 62 games for the Bengals and was known for his ability to play at any spot on the offensive line. Still, there was no doubt that Steinbach was at his best at guard.

After signing a big seven-year, $49.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2007 season, Steinbach became the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. At the time, he was regarded as one of the top free agents on the market.

Eric Steinbach is a personal favorite from mine at guard, because he played in nearly every game in his eight-year career and didn’t miss much time due to injury with the Bengals. It’s tough to see a warrior and a formerly great guard have to leave the game due to an unsuccessful comeback from injury, and Steinbach was an overlooked player in his prime years; the furthest he got to being named to a Pro Bowl was a first alternate mention in 2008.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.