Steeler center Jeff Hartings officially announced his retirement yesterday, ending an 11 year career which included two Pro Bowls and six seasons with the Black and Gold.
Hartings retirement leaves the Steelers with two centers still on the roster - Chukky Okobi and Marvin Philip. Okobi will almost assuredly be slotted into Hartings' starting role at center, though Hartings retirement certainly creates a need for Pittsburgh, in terms of depth. If the Steelers intend to fill that need through the draft, they could certainly take a long look at USC alum Ryan Kalil, who looks to be worthy of first round consideration. Philip was a rookie last year, though, which means the Steelers would be both thin and young at the center position. It wouldn't be a huge shock to see Pittsburgh sniff the free agent waters for a suitable center to fill depth while they see if Philip can develop.
For Okobi, who just finished his sixth season in the league, this presents the big opportunity he's been seeking, and he'll get a chance to have a nice little career if he can fill the Hartings void in 2007.