Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eric Steinbach retires from football

A day after Hard Knocks viewers were treated to a conversation between guard Eric Steinbach and Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin that seemed to indicate the veteran was contemplating retirement, Steinbach made it official and announced that he will indeed be retiring from the NFL.

It's hardly a shocking move, as Steinbach indicated to Philbin on Hard Knocks that he wasn't playing up to his standards and wasn't entirely healthy. At this point, he was a long shot to make the Dolphins' roster as he wasn't pushing for a starting job.

Steinbach was signed by the Dolphins on July 26 after a workout in the first day of training camp, having sat out the entire 2011 season on the Cleveland Browns' injured reserve with a back injury. The 32-year-old had worked primarily as the backup left guard for the Dolphins in training camp and sat out last Friday's preseason game with a knee injury.

Once he is moved to the reserve/retired list, the Dolphins will have 88 players on their 90-man preseason roster after Monday's release of fullback Ryan Mahaffey. That means the team will have to shed 13 players to get down to 75 by next Monday, Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. ET barring any additional roster moves before then. Final cuts to 53 players must be done by Friday, Aug. 31 at 9 p.m. ET.

Steinbach's departure comes as good news to fellow guards John Jerry and Nate Garner, who will see a little less competition for roster spots over the next week.

Jerry, who entered camp as the third-team right guard, has been ridiculed by the coaching staff for his weight and conditioning but is coming off an impressive showing against the Panthers and has been working with the starters in place of a dinged-up Artis Hicks.

Personally, I'd much rather see Jerry start at right guard in 2012, as Hicks offers no upside and was a poorly thought-out plan from the beginning. Jerry might not be a great fit for the zone-blocking scheme, but even the coaching staff has acknowledged his potential and it might be worth it to see if he can progress this year.

Garner worked as a backup right guard ahead of Jerry for most of training camp, but has dealt with an ankle injury suffered in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay. Although he struggled at tackle in spot duty last season, Garner offers nice versatility off the bench with experience at all five offensive line positions.