The Browns announced on Wednesday they have released OG Eric Steinbach.
Steinbach missed the entire 2011 season after having a disc fragment removed from his spinal nerve last summer. Prior to that he had been quite durable, starting in 124 of the 125 games he'd played in since being drafted in 2003 by the Bengals.
In a statement, Steinbach said he is hopeful he can re-sign with the Browns.
"It has been a good ride in Cleveland and I hope it can continue," he said. "I'm proud to say that the offensive line has been a bright spot through the past few seasons. It has been a privilege to play for the city of Cleveland and it's rich tradition. Mr. Lerner has always treated me with respect and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work for him and his organization. I will continue to work with the Browns through my agent in hopes of striking a deal that is practical and fair for both sides. In the mean time, I will explore other opportunities. If I do move on, I want to thank the people and fans of Cleveland who have treated my family and I with great support and hospitality. If my time here comes to an end, I want the people of this great city to remember one thing: "You stay classy Cleveland!"
Steinbach was reportedly slated to make $6 million in 2012.
"These types of decisions are the difficult part of this job, especially when it involves a player such as Eric Steinbach," Browns GM Tom Heckert said in a statement issued by the club. "Eric exhibited tremendous leadership and passion for the game during his time here. We want to thank him for his contributions."
The way we see it
Jason Pinkston, who started all 16 games at left guard a season ago, could keep the job if Steinbach isn't re-signed. Steinbach's agent, Jack Bechta, told the National Football Post that he and the Browns "will keep talking while Steinbach will simultaneously explore the free-agent market."
The Browns are also in need of a right tackle after releasing Tony Pashos on Tuesday.
- Eric Steinbach
- The Browns