A former Hawkeye offensive lineman who helped pave the way for one of Iowa's most successful seasons will be the honorary captain at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.

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He started every game at left guard for Iowa in 2002, when the Hawkeyes went 11-2 and quarterback Brad Banks finished second in the Heisman Trophy Voting. Friday, Eric Steinbach becomes a member of the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. Saturday, he'll feel the love of 69,250 during an opening day sellout at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

During that 2002 season with Steinbach on the offensive line, Iowa finished seventh in the nation in scoring at 37 points per game. It was the second straight year Iowa had led the Big 10 in scoring. In 2002, Fred Russell rushed for more than 1200 yards, and Banks threw for over 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns, with only 5 interceptions. As you'll recall, he was a pretty successful runner, as well. The offensive line gave up only 12 sacks in 2002, the lowest total in the Big Ten. It was a special season.

Steinbach was a first-team All-America choice by five different organizations during his senior season. He was also the 2002 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. Steinbach was a four-year lettermen at Iowa before heading to the NFL.

Iowa played USC in the 2003 Orange Bowl, the program's first Bowl Championship Series Game. Here they are taking the field that day.

Iowa Hawkeyes take the field
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And Steinbach (#56) protecting Brad Banks as he rolled out during the game.

Brad Banks rolls out
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From 2003-2006, Steinbach played for the Cincinnati Bengals. In the photo below he's (#65) protecting former USC quarterback Carson Palmer, who helped USC defeat Iowa in the 2003 Orange Bowl.

Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
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After four seasons in Cleveland, Steinbach spent the last five years of his career with the Cleveland Browns (2007-2011). During his nine NFL seasons, Steinbach started 124 of 125 games. Pretty spectacular stuff for a guy who wasn't taken until the second round of the NFL draft, albeit with that round's very first pick.

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
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Ten former Iowa Hawkeyes will be inducted into the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame Friday night, September 1, in the Feller Club Room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The others are:

  • BJ Armstrong (men's basketball)
  • Cherie Freddie (field hockey)
  • Jolette Law (women's basketball)
  • Terri McFarland (softball)
  • Brent Metcalf (wrestling)
  • Peaches Roach Findlay (women's track and field)
  • Bill Seaberg (men's basketball)
  • J. Daniel Sherman (wrestling)
  • Anne West Burmeister (rowing)

On Saturday, Eric Steinbach will be in the Iowa locker room with the team before and after the game, and midfield for the pregame coin toss between Iowa and Utah State. We can already hear the throaty roar from Kniick Stadium when Steinbach's name is announced. The game kicks off at 11:03 a.m. on FS1.

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