PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Joel Steed retired Tuesday because of knee problems and his impending release from the team.

Steed said he was ``fortunate'' to be able to play his entire eight-year NFL career in Pittsburgh.

He was taken by the Steelers in the third round of the 1992 draft out of Colorado. Steed, twice selected for the Pro Bowl, started for Pittsburgh against Dallas in the 1996 Super Bowl.

But Steed also had a history of injuries, including two knee operations since the end of the 1998 season. He missed the final two games last season with knee soreness.

The 31-year-old Steed finishes his career with 315 tackles, including 215 solo.

``Joel Steed has been a very productive player for us, and he will be missed,'' head coach Bill Cowher said.

Steed will probably be replaced in the middle of the defensive line by veteran Kimo von Oelhoffen, who signed as a free agent from Cincinnati in the offseason.

Steed was scheduled to make $3 million each of the next two seasons. His retirement frees up cap room for the team to sign top draft picks Plaxico Burress and Marvell Smith.

Burress, a wide receiver from Michigan State, was the eighth overall selection in April's NFL draft. He is expected to step in for Will Blackwell, who will miss training camp and the exhibition season following knee surgery June 28.

Leigh Steinberg, Burress' agent, said last week he is hoping to get his client signed by Sunday when the Steelers open training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

Smith, an offensive lineman who was selected in the second round with the 38th overall pick from Arizona State, will compete with Kris Farris and Shar Poudranesh for the starting right offensive tackle job.