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Eric Steinbach Released, But Still Talking With Browns

The Browns are releasing 31-year-old offensive lineman Eric Steinbach, according to the National Football Post. The former Iowa Hawkeye, who missed all of 2011 after back surgery, was in the sixth year of a seven year deal with the Browns, and would have been on the books for $6 million in the 2012 season.

Although Steinbach formally asked for his release, there's still a chance he'll be with Cleveland next year. Per Steinbach's agent:

Eric Steinbach could part ways with the Cleveland Browns. Asked to take a significant salary reduction in late February, the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement on a new deal, so Steinbach has asked for his release. However, the two sides will keep talking while Steinbach will simultaneously explore the free agent market.

The Browns certainly need help on the line, and if the two sides are able to come to an agreement that will pay Steinbach less, but offer him more in incentives, it would help free up more cap space for the Browns to -- well, do whatever it is that they are doing in free agency (hint: not much of anything). Regardless, Steinbach has always been a pro, and if he heads elsewhere, Browns fans will wish him the best.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.