Chicago Bears: Eric Steinbach
April, 4, 2012
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Tony DejakEric Steinbach (65) left the Browns after being asked to take a significant pay cut.CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears made it known last month they were in the market for veteran help along the interior of their offensive line when they hosted Minnesota Vikings veteran Anthony Herrera on an official visit at Halas Hall.
Another name on the Bears' radar is veteran guard Eric Steinbach, who was released by the Cleveland Browns on March 14 after being asked to take a significant reduction in pay. The Bears and Seattle Seahawks are among the teams that have made inquiries about Steinbach, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The Baltimore Ravens might also be in the market for help at left guard, according to a source.
However, it's unclear if Steinbach will make any visits before the NFL Draft at the end of the month as he continues to recover from a back injury that forced the guard to miss the entire 2011 season.
Since entering the NFL as a second-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003, Steinbach has built a reputation as one of the top guards in the league. He started 124 games for the Bengals and Browns over the span of eight years, before undergoing a procedure that removed a disc fragment from his spinal nerve in August of last summer.
The veteran offensive lineman parted company with the Browns after being asked to take a significant reduction in pay. Steinbach, 32, signed a seven-year, $49.5 million contract with the Browns in 2007 and was set to earn $6 million this upcoming season.
A Chicago area product, Steinbach starred at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Ill. before playing his collegiate ball at the University of Iowa, where he was named a first-team All-American and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2002.
While the Bears appear to have decent numbers already on the roster at the guard position, the club ranked No. 30 in the league when it came to running the ball up the middle last season, averaging a mere 3.3 yards per carry and failing to break off a single 20-yard plus run, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Also, two starting members of the Bears 2011 offensive line, right tackle Gabe Carimi and left guard Chris Williams, are both still recovering from season ending injuries.