Thursday, February 01, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Pro-Bowl center Jeff Hartings has told his Steelers' teammates that he is retiring.
Hartings, who succeeded Dermontti Dawson at a position that has been the team's most stable and successful for the past four decades, told his fellow offensive linemen shortly after the season ended that he will not be back.
"He's done. He told all of us," said offensive tackle Max Starks.
Hartings ends an 11-year playing career with two teams at two different positions. He began as a guard after the Detroit Lions drafted him in the first round from Penn State in 1996. He switched to center, a position he had never played, when he signed with the Steelers in 2001 as an unrestricted free agent.
Dawson was forced into retirement after the 2000 season because of lingering hamstring muscle injuries. Hartings moved in and started all but six games over the past six seasons at center, despite chronic problems and soreness with his knees because of a loss of cartilage.
Hartings made two Pro Bowls as a center after the 2004 and 2005 seasons.