Browns C Hallen retires

Updated: August 12, 2006, 12:29 PM ET
SportsTicker

BEREA, Ohio - The Cleveland Browns have lost another center.

Bob Hallen, who was being counted on to replace injured Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley, informed the Browns that he has retired.

Hallen's retirement could not have come at a worse time for the Browns, who lost Bentley to a season-ending knee injury on the first day of training camp.

"This is stunning to all of us because it was so abrupt," Browns general manager Phil Savage said.

Citing back problems, Hallen left camp without permission last Monday. Hallen's agent, Cliff Brady, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Hallen has two herniated discs and is suffering from stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.

Hallen, 31, spent the last four seasons with the San Diego Chargers, playing mostly at guard.

Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Hallen was slated to back up at both guard and center for the Browns. But the season-ending injury to Bentley forced Cleveland to start Hallen at center.

Last Tuesday, the Browns acquired center Ross Tucker, who has 24 career starts, from New England for a draft pick in 2007.

Alonzo Ephraim started at center in the Browns' 20-7 preseason loss to Philadelphia.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index