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CanadianSteel
10-22-2011, 02:48 PM
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... e552da576e (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Aaron-Smith-placed-on-IR/d13a34f9-f7ff-4f08-ac4a-bbe552da576e)




Shame =(

SteelBucks
10-22-2011, 03:16 PM
Great player in his prime. I hate to see his career end this way.

RuthlessBurgher
10-22-2011, 04:02 PM
I figured that they would have to call up Corbin Bryant from the practice squad, because we couldn't go with just 4 active DL (Keisel, Hood, Heyward, McLendon). Last year, we cut a rookie (Thad Gibson) when a similar situation arose in which we needed to activate McLendon for additonal DL depth when we were struck by multiple injuries at one time, hoping that Smitty would be able to return to action. This year, it looks like we may indeed have witnessed the end of an era. Pity. Great career in black and gold, brother. LDE officially belongs to you now, Ziggy. And our top draft pick will now be counted on as the primary rotational backup to both DE spots. I think Zig and Cam are both more than ready for those promotions, on a permanent basis moving forward.

Steelerphile
10-22-2011, 04:19 PM
Well they have seen the light. It really is what should have been done, but you wonder how long they would keep Smith around out of respect for the player he was. I think the defense improved with Hood getting the playing time. Winning is still the bottom line.

I don't think anyone should feel sad. He can join the galaxy of ex-players. They are still a part of us all. I hope Smith gracefully retires. He had a good long run. Better than 99% did. He can be proud of a great career.

papillon
10-22-2011, 05:17 PM
Bummer for Smitty, maybe they can sign him to a one game contract next year, so that, he can play one last play and then be taken out of the game to receive a standing ovation from the Steeler fans that attend the game.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Hampton call a career as well after the season.

Pappy

feltdizz
10-22-2011, 06:40 PM
We can have a half time tribute for A. Smith every game next year but we definitely shouldn't sign him for a one game tribute.

hawaiiansteel
10-22-2011, 07:30 PM
Aaron Smith has one year left on his contract, so it will be interesting to see if he decides to give it one more go or not.

focosteeler
10-22-2011, 08:12 PM
I hope they can keep him on as an assistant or something after this season. Someone who was a good as he was has so much he can teach the young guns

Pahn711
10-22-2011, 08:35 PM
This is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And in Smith's case, not much. I say good riddance, and demand he give back at least half the money he made in each of the last three seasons he didn't finish (to prevent backlash, obviously I'm exaggerating). Some guys don't know when to quit. Unfortunately at the end of the day, its the Steelers fault for not cutting their losses in time.

Discipline of Steel
10-22-2011, 09:48 PM
This is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And in Smith's case, not much. I say good riddance, and demand he give back at least half the money he made in each of the last three seasons he didn't finish (to prevent backlash, obviously I'm exaggerating). Some guys don't know when to quit. Unfortunately at the end of the day, its the Steelers fault for not cutting their losses in time.

What is so plainly obvious to you now was something that had to work itself out. The team obviously held him in very high regard and correctly gave him every chance to return to form. Nobody including you would have cut Aaron Smith three years ago.

DukieBoy
10-22-2011, 10:07 PM
Glad he has spent his full pro career in Pittsburgh. A true Steeler, great team player, great example.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
10-22-2011, 10:36 PM
This is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And in Smith's case, not much. I say good riddance, and demand he give back at least half the money he made in each of the last three seasons he didn't finish (to prevent backlash, obviously I'm exaggerating). Some guys don't know when to quit. Unfortunately at the end of the day, its the Steelers fault for not cutting their losses in time.

I believe it is actions like these by the Rooneys and the FO that help define "the Steeler way". It's not just feel good warm fuzzies, IMO, it is one of the many things that make the Steeler organization different from many others, from the FO to the coaches, the players, and I'll bet even down to the trainers and cafeteria staff. And I bet it pays off in subtle but real ways on the field.

Sure it's a business, but I don't think all owners run their business the same way in this league. I'm glad the Rooneys run this one.

lbs95915592
10-23-2011, 12:01 AM
I figured that they would have to call up Corbin Bryant from the practice squad, because we couldn't go with just 4 active DL (Keisel, Hood, Heyward, McLendon). Last year, we cut a rookie (Thad Gibson) when a similar situation arose in which we needed to activate McLendon for additonal DL depth when we were struck by multiple injuries at one time, hoping that Smitty would be able to return to action. This year, it looks like we may indeed have witnessed the end of an era. Pity. Great career in black and gold, brother. LDE officially belongs to you now, Ziggy. And our top draft pick will now be counted on as the primary rotational backup to both DE spots. I think Zig and Cam are both more than ready for those promotions, on a permanent basis moving forward.


Very well said!

Slapstick
10-23-2011, 09:11 AM
D-Line Coach/Assistant Head Coach John Mitchell has said that he will not retire until Aaron Smith does...if that is the case, the Steelers could have lot of turnover in personnel...playing and coaching...

chiken
10-23-2011, 10:46 AM
I know I have been asking for this for a minute and to be honest I am sad to see him go out like this but everybody had to see this coming. Heck even when he was in there - it wasn't really him... he is one of my favorite players.... i hope to never see him play again.

AkronSteel
10-23-2011, 11:09 AM
Thank you for your years of service Aaron. You were truly a man of great talent and leadership. Steeler Nation appreciates your efforts in leading us to 2 Super Bowl titles. God Speed!!!

feltdizz
10-23-2011, 11:27 AM
I appreciate all Smith has done but it was time. Honestly, we shouldn't have brougt him back this year.

Pahn711
10-23-2011, 11:40 AM
This is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And in Smith's case, not much. I say good riddance, and demand he give back at least half the money he made in each of the last three seasons he didn't finish (to prevent backlash, obviously I'm exaggerating). Some guys don't know when to quit. Unfortunately at the end of the day, its the Steelers fault for not cutting their losses in time.

What is so plainly obvious to you now was something that had to work itself out. The team obviously held him in very high regard and correctly gave him every chance to return to form. Nobody including you would have cut Aaron Smith three years ago.

You are indeed right, three years ago I would not have. But this past offseason? Yes I would, or at least demanded he take a hefty pay cut. Considering how tight up against the cap the Steelers were and the fact that they could not afford guys like Flozell Adams or other more high-priced o-line talent, I'd say the money should definitely have been spent elsewhere.

People talk all the time about how the Steelers have not properly evaluated older players and decided when to cut them loose. Most times I defend their decisions, but never this one.

isonator07
10-23-2011, 11:51 AM
This might be a terrible question. Can Smitty still restructure this year to lower our cap number for this season? Since he isn't playing it would be nice to free up some money to go get Flozell or another lineman out there.

feltdizz
10-23-2011, 12:08 PM
This might be a terrible question. Can Smitty still restructure this year to lower our cap number for this season? Since he isn't playing it would be nice to free up some money to go get Flozell or another lineman out there.

he was extended this year to free up some money but I think that's the only thing we could do to create some cap room this year.

The crazy thing is Smitty expected the FO to ask him to take a pay cut before the season started and said he would do it if asked.

Our FO screwed this one up and put emotion before business. While this may be the "Steeler way" I think this was one time where we were burned. We start the season out getting run over and Ben was getting killed... imagine if we cut Smith, saved enough money for Flozell and let the youngsters take over.

Oh well, nothing we can do about that now.

Pahn711
10-23-2011, 12:15 PM
The crazy thing is Smitty expected the FO to ask him to take a pay cut before the season started and said he would do it if asked.

Our FO screwed this one up and put emotion before business.

Yeah thats wild, imagine a player openly admitting he hasn't been earning his paychecks and the Steelers still did nothing about it while struggling to create more cap space. Certainly doesn't sound like a business trying to maximize potential at the lowest cost to me.

RuthlessBurgher
10-23-2011, 12:54 PM
This is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And in Smith's case, not much. I say good riddance, and demand he give back at least half the money he made in each of the last three seasons he didn't finish (to prevent backlash, obviously I'm exaggerating). Some guys don't know when to quit. Unfortunately at the end of the day, its the Steelers fault for not cutting their losses in time.

What is so plainly obvious to you now was something that had to work itself out. The team obviously held him in very high regard and correctly gave him every chance to return to form. Nobody including you would have cut Aaron Smith three years ago.

You are indeed right, three years ago I would not have. But this past offseason? Yes I would, or at least demanded he take a hefty pay cut. Considering how tight up against the cap the Steelers were and the fact that they could not afford guys like Flozell Adams or other more high-priced o-line talent, I'd say the money should definitely have been spent elsewhere.

People talk all the time about how the Steelers have not properly evaluated older players and decided when to cut them loose. Most times I defend their decisions, but never this one.

You talk about how Aaron Smith should have been cut because he was an older player, but then say that money should have been spent to keep Flozell Adams. Adams is a year older than Smith.

hawaiiansteel
10-23-2011, 02:08 PM
I believe it is actions like these by the Rooneys and the FO that help define "the Steeler way". It's not just feel good warm fuzzies, IMO, it is one of the many things that make the Steeler organization different from many others, from the FO to the coaches, the players, and I'll bet even down to the trainers and cafeteria staff. And I bet it pays off in subtle but real ways on the field.

Sure it's a business, but I don't think all owners run their business the same way in this league. I'm glad the Rooneys run this one.


:Agree

Aaron Smith is the best 3-4 DE in team history, I'm glad the Steelers are treating him with the class and respect he deserves instead of throwing him out with yesterday's trash. it's the kind of thing that makes players want to be a part of the Steelers organization.

Pahn711
10-23-2011, 02:21 PM
This is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And in Smith's case, not much. I say good riddance, and demand he give back at least half the money he made in each of the last three seasons he didn't finish (to prevent backlash, obviously I'm exaggerating). Some guys don't know when to quit. Unfortunately at the end of the day, its the Steelers fault for not cutting their losses in time.

What is so plainly obvious to you now was something that had to work itself out. The team obviously held him in very high regard and correctly gave him every chance to return to form. Nobody including you would have cut Aaron Smith three years ago.

You are indeed right, three years ago I would not have. But this past offseason? Yes I would, or at least demanded he take a hefty pay cut. Considering how tight up against the cap the Steelers were and the fact that they could not afford guys like Flozell Adams or other more high-priced o-line talent, I'd say the money should definitely have been spent elsewhere.

People talk all the time about how the Steelers have not properly evaluated older players and decided when to cut them loose. Most times I defend their decisions, but never this one.

You talk about how Aaron Smith should have been cut because he was an older player, but then say that money should have been spent to keep Flozell Adams. Adams is a year older than Smith.

I didn't say it was because he was an older player. Well, thats part of it, but thats not the point. He is injured every year like clockwork, and it seems to be happening earlier and earlier each season. You can't compare that situation to Adams.

Couple that with an increasingly apparent decline in his level of play (especially this year) and the Steelers should have made the hard business decision sooner. The run defense was pretty good last year right? And Ziggy Hood started for most of it, that was a sign we had his replacement ready to go.

We can talk about how classy the Steelers organization is all we want, but I'd rather be talking about how good they are at making sound personnel business decisions that continue to field a championship-caliber football squad year in and out, wouldn't you?

hawaiiansteel
10-23-2011, 03:06 PM
I thought Aaron Smith had a foot injury, I didn't realize that he was placed on IR for a neck injury. this could very well end Smitty's career even though he has one year left on his contract.


Neck injury ended season for Steelers' Smith

Sunday, October 23, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

GLENDALE, Airz. -- Aaron Smith had a neck injury that prompted the Steelers to place him on injured reserve Saturday, possibly ending the defensive end's career at age 35.

Smith had missed the past two games with a sprained foot. The neck injury apparently "came up" recently and after an examination the team placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.

It's the third straight season Smith did not play more than six games before going on injured reserve.

Coach Mike Tomlin is expected to address Smith's injury after today's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11296/11 ... z1bcrDkbem (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11296/1184405-100.stm#ixzz1bcrDkbem)

feltdizz
10-23-2011, 05:59 PM
I'm sorry but 6 games or less and on injured reserve is unacceptable. I don't want to hear about "class" and best DE ever. We spent way too much time and money waiting on something we knew was over.

Fans and the FO need to stop living in the past when it comes to Smith. Its been 3 years... What exactly are we praising and how does it help us win now and into the future?

Pahn711
10-23-2011, 07:36 PM
I'm sorry but 6 games or less and on injured reserve is unacceptable. I don't want to hear about "class" and best DE ever. We spent way too much time and money waiting on something we knew was over.

Fans and the FO need to stop living in the past when it comes to Smith. Its been 3 years... What exactly are we praising and how does it help us win now and into the future?

:Agree Amen brother. Class and reputation don't go a long way when we invest in guys who can't make it through half a season.

hawaiiansteel
10-24-2011, 12:31 AM
Kovacevic: Steelers aim to do it for Aaron

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, October 24, 2011

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1347807/38464548E.jpg

GLENDALE, Ariz. It was Saturday morning when the Steelers' players got word that Aaron Smith, one of the NFL's great defensive ends and a franchise fixture, was placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury. His season was done. Probably his career, too.

Brett Keisel, Smith's bookend these past few years, recalled a group of defensive players sitting with Smith in Pittsburgh soon afterward. They discussed Smith's injury, his future, his feelings about the franchise ... followed by a long silence.

Keisel broke it: "Are you going to come with us?"

For the game Sunday, he meant.

Smith smiled and replied: "Well, what else am I going to do? Am I going to sit around and mope? No, I'm coming."

The players exalted. And I got the distinct feeling that emotion carried into the Steelers' 32-20 throttling of the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Smith was on the team plane, in the locker room before the game and on the sideline throughout, offering advice, patting rumps, chipping in any way that a guy with a bad neck could.

Smith's neck which coach Mike Tomlin revealed yesterday had hurt him for weeks is now so painful it will require surgery. That made the decision for the team and the player unavoidable.

But the story won't end there: Keisel and several other players said yesterday they plan to dedicate the 2011 season to Smith.

"He's one of the greatest Steelers to ever put on a uniform," Keisel said. "There aren't a lot of guys who have played and battled like he has. Everyone looks up to that. We love him. We respect him. The least we can do is go out and win games for him."

This made for a fine start. Yeah, Arizona made absurd plays and decisions befitting a 1-5 team. It's going to be a ton tougher with New England and Baltimore next on the schedule. But Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers performed at their highest level all season, LaMarr Woodley is back to being a full-time beast, and the team is now 5-2.

The defensive line was fine, too.

When the Steelers took the field in the nickel formation that has only two down linemen, it looked like a tribute to Smith. It wasn't, of course. It was aimed at spelling third-string nose tackle Steve McLendon Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke were out again and it worked well. McLendon held up well, while Keisel and Ziggy Hood helped hold Arizona to just 73 rushing yards.

Smith plans to address the media later this week, and I'm guessing he'll say he loved it all.

In the broader scope, it's not easy to quantify Smith's value.

On the field, he was so hard to keep out of the backfield that he often drew two blockers, freeing up linebackers for the sacks and the glory. He was so difficult to run against that most opponents went the other way. Incredibly, he made only one Pro Bowl appearance, even as he was selected for Sports Illustrated's All-Decade team for the 2000s.

Off the field, Smith has been a leader through word and deed. Teammates know of his torment and resolve in helping his young son Elijah battle leukemia. They saw him compete through excruciating pain. Over the past four years, they saw him rehabilitating relentlessly, usually in vain.

"A guy like that," safety Ryan Clark said, shaking his head, "should have a better ending, you know?"

The players sounded mixed as to whether Smith might return in 2012, maybe out of a willful naivete. Keisel said he didn't know. Clark said, "He's probably not going to play again."

I hope he doesn't. Smith is 35. He's had so many injuries, and as we all could see even as we wanted to look away he wasn't himself on the field this season.

After an especially tough game in Indianapolis last month, Smith looked at me and said quietly, "I'm tired."

I believed it.

As Clark said, the man deserves better.

If Smith sticks around, if he comes on the occasional trip like this, if he walks the sideline, if he pokes his head into defensive line meetings, the Steelers will be the stronger for it.

But it won't be the same. That was easy to see on the sideline late in the game yesterday, when Clark lay his forehead on Smith's left shoulder and told him, "I'm going to miss you, man."

When I asked Clark to explain that, his eyes welled.

"He's a guy you root for, but he's a guy we love."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1bf9K74Ut (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_763499.html#ixzz1bf9K74Ut)

hawaiiansteel
10-24-2011, 02:21 AM
Ed: Aaron Smith Says He's 'Disappointed"

SUNDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2011
WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE


Caught up with Aaron Smith leaving the locker room in Arizona tonight, and believe I was the only reporter to talk to him. He really did not want to say much and actually apologized for that, but he did say a few things.

Here's what I wrote for tomorrow's paper on it:

Aaron Smith did not take much time to celebrate with his teammates in the winning locker room here. As many of them talked to reporters after they improved to 5-2, Smith walked resolutely past them on his way to the team bus.

His season is over, and at 35 his career may have ended too. He needs neck surgery, a development that only recently was discovered while he sat out the previous three weeks with a foot injury.

Smith did not want to talk about his future, he did not want to talk about much. He apologized for that and offered a few brief words about the news that for the third straight year, his season ended early and ubruptly.

"Just disaapointed, that's about it,'' said Smith, who was limited to 11 games combined in 2009 and 2010 because of arm injuries and subsequent surgeries. "You work hard, cricumstnaces change and it doesn't work out."

Smith's last game was Oct. 2 in Houston. A sprained foot kept him out since then until doctors recently ran tests on a sore neck that will require surgery at some point.

"He was experiencing some discomfort and pain,'' coach Mike Tomlin explained. "He thought it was a function of playing. Once he hurt his ankle, he thought it would calm down but it didn't. He consulted with our doctors and let them know what he was experiencing. They evaluated it and looked at it and determined that it needs to be fixed.''

Ziggy Hood, the team's 2009 first-round draft choice, made his fifth start of the season Sunday, third for Smith at left end, a job that is now his.

"I'm going to dedicate this season for him,'' Hood said.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... appointedq (http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/112729-ed-aaron-smith-says-hes-disappointedq)

feltdizz
10-24-2011, 09:04 AM
I believe it is actions like these by the Rooneys and the FO that help define "the Steeler way". It's not just feel good warm fuzzies, IMO, it is one of the many things that make the Steeler organization different from many others, from the FO to the coaches, the players, and I'll bet even down to the trainers and cafeteria staff. And I bet it pays off in subtle but real ways on the field.

Sure it's a business, but I don't think all owners run their business the same way in this league. I'm glad the Rooneys run this one.


:Agree

Aaron Smith is the best 3-4 DE in team history, I'm glad the Steelers are treating him with the class and respect he deserves instead of throwing him out with yesterday's trash. it's the kind of thing that makes players want to be a part of the Steelers organization.

He would make a great coach...

We would never throw him out like trash but the last 3 years were pretty much garbage IMO.

Great player 4 years ago but last year should have been his last year. This class and respect thing is getting expensive and hampering our development of another young body or a linemen who could help protect Ben. I think we put 1 player ahead of the other 52 and while it was OK 2 years ago this year we saw Smitty get abused and let's pray our class and respect didn't permanently injure him for life.

SidSmythe
10-24-2011, 09:08 AM
Thank you for the awesome career and giving our young guys a tremendous example on how the position is played ... Smitty Rules and will make a great coach :tt1

Slapstick
10-24-2011, 09:41 AM
If Smith sticks around, if he comes on the occasional trip like this, if he walks the sideline, if he pokes his head into defensive line meetings, the Steelers will be the stronger for it.

But it won't be the same. That was easy to see on the sideline late in the game yesterday, when Clark lay his forehead on Smith's left shoulder and told him, "I'm going to miss you, man."

When I asked Clark to explain that, his eyes welled.

"He's a guy you root for, but he's a guy we love."


Sometimes, keeping a player on the team is more important to morale than any short-term salary cap inconveniences...

Sonny
10-24-2011, 12:30 PM
Whatever decision they made isn't going to make or break our season or anything else.

All I know is i'm glad we drafted DE. Next up, find a replacement for Hampton. Then our defense will start looking young again, until Troy gets older. Thats when i'll get scared.

RuthlessBurgher
10-24-2011, 12:38 PM
D-Line Coach/Assistant Head Coach John Mitchell has said that he will not retire until Aaron Smith does...if that is the case, the Steelers could have lot of turnover in personnel...playing and coaching...

Hmmm...Mitchell will not retire until Aaron Smith does...I wonder if it is because Mitchell realizes that Smitty would be an awesome coach, so he decided to hang around on our coaching staff until Smith's playing career ended, so Aaron could slide right in as our future DL coach from that point on? Spend the rest of this season as a de facto assistant DL coach.

NorthCoast
10-24-2011, 12:44 PM
If you treat people like the dollar is the most important thing to you, they will play like the dollar is the most important thing to them. A team will reap what they sow... the Steeler organization has been rewarded many times over for doing the player right on most occasions.

hawaiiansteel
10-24-2011, 03:38 PM
If you treat people like the dollar is the most important thing to you, they will play like the dollar is the most important thing to them. A team will reap what they sow... the Steeler organization has been rewarded many times over for doing the player right on most occasions.

$$$$$$

hawaiiansteel
10-24-2011, 05:27 PM
I'm sorry but 6 games or less and on injured reserve is unacceptable. I don't want to hear about "class" and best DE ever. We spent way too much time and money waiting on something we knew was over.

Fans and the FO need to stop living in the past when it comes to Smith. Its been 3 years... What exactly are we praising and how does it help us win now and into the future?


MONDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2011

WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE


Aaron Smith will never play football again. That may be sad in a way but look at all he's accomplished -- two Super Bowl rings, a ton of money to set up his family forever and plenty of memories. He's also 35, not 25, and most players his age are long gone from the sport anyway, even the good ones. It's just a shame he could not have gone out with one, final, full season.

-- This is why the Steelers drafted two defensive ends on the first round in the past three seasons.

--- Did Mike Tomlin and the Steelers keep Aaron Smith around one or two years too long? Well, of course they did, 20-20 hindsight tells us that. But how do you get rid of a guy who has meant so much to you and when you think, in your heart, he might be able to squeeze one more season out? It's a tough thing and Tomlin isn't the first to succumb to perhaps letting a guy hang around too long. Chuck Noll did it, most famously with Dwight White but with others as well. Bill Cowher did it; he once told me how difficult it is releasing a player who has done so much for you. And maybe Tomlin has now done it with Smith. You might even point out some others on the team who, if Bill Belichick were coaching, would no longer be here.

But, remember, there is a certain culture with the Steelers too that keeps good players coming back for maybe lower salaries and attracts some free agents that would not otherwise come here and maybe that in some small way has helped them win two Super Bowls and get there three times in the past six years and remained in the hunt for the most part since 1992.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... outdo-fitz (http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/112738-ed-wallace-brown-outdo-fitz)

NJ-STEELER
10-24-2011, 06:20 PM
jesus


he looks as old as keith butler in that picture

feltdizz
10-24-2011, 06:38 PM
Huge mistake and I hope we never repeat it again... you can't turn back the clock and it's a young man's game so what exactly were we hoping for?

hawaiiansteel
10-25-2011, 02:44 AM
Steelers' Aaron Smith one of the greats, on field and in life

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201110/asmith4_500.jpg

If you cover sports for a long time, you build up an impressive list of favorites, great, wonderful people whom you are thankful to know or have known. I think of Art Rooney, Sr. and Jr., Mel Blount and Jack Ham. Jerome Bettis, James Farrior, Larry Foote and Hines Ward. Herb Brooks, Brooks Orpik and Mike Rupp. Jim Leyland, Chuck Tanner and Carl Barger. Johnny Majors and Joe Paterno.

But I'm not sure I wouldn't rank Aaron Smith No. 1, all time.

"If I could be like him and live my life like he lives his, I'd die a happy man," Steelers teammate Brett Keisel once said of Smith.

I reminded Keisel of that comment after the Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, a day after news broke that the team had placed Smith on injured reserve because of a neck injury, ending his season and his superb career.

"I meant it then and I mean it now," Keisel said. "He is everything to me. It's hard for me to put it into words."

Keisel really didn't have to say more.

That he had to reach into his locker for a towel to wipe his eyes said it all.

I'm guessing a lot of other Steelers felt like crying when they heard that Smith was done at 35 after 12 1/2 NFL seasons. Team neurosurgeon Joe Maroon examined Smith and couldn't promise him that he wouldn't have a catastrophic neck injury if he played again. Instead, Smith will have surgery that will allow him to continue to lead a normal life.

This is three consecutive seasons and the fourth time in five years that a major injury ended Smith's season.

"When you play as hard as he does and you compete like he does, these things happen," Keisel said. "I don't think [the neck injury] was the result of any one play. I think it was just wear and tear. His body just wore out."

That thought didn't make it any easier for Smith's teammates to accept that he won't be playing with them again.

"His locker is right next to mine," said Farrior, the Steelers defensive captain and, at 36, their oldest player.

"I know how hard he worked and the struggles he went through to come back from his [torn triceps] injury last season. He really wanted to have a great year. It [stinks] how he's going out."

Smith was a great player, one of the best in Steelers history. Certainly, he was their best 3-4 defensive end.

"An awesome player," Farrior called Smith.

"He never got dogged by the coaches or dominated by an opponent," said Foote, a veteran linebacker. "All of us get yelled at by the coaches and laughed at by our teammates for doing something stupid on the field. Not Aaron. Never once can I remember leaving the film room saying, 'That play was Aaron's fault.' He never was out of position. He never made mistakes."

Here's the best part about Smith:

He is a better man than player.

I saw it after Smith's son, Elijah, then 4, was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2008. Smith is a private guy, generally avoided the spotlight his entire career and didn't respond to repeated telephone requests to talk about this latest injury. But he agreed to go public with Elijah's story when he realized it could help others. I sat with him for a couple of hours at the South Side compound and listened as he bared his soul. It was my most memorable interview.

What parent couldn't relate to Smith's pain?

"I swear at that moment I wanted to vomit on the floor. I didn't know anything about leukemia. I just know it was something bad. It was a death sentence as far as I knew."

An entire region was touched.

That December, the Steelers held a record-setting blood drive at Heinz Field that was inspired by Elijah's illness.

"What an awesome city!" Smith gushed in response. "This is a city that takes care of its own."

The Steelers beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII after the 2008 season and Elijah was in Tampa, Fla., to see the game. Today, he's doing well, a happy 7-year-old, the second-oldest of Smith's five children.

You think Smith is going to fret too much about the end of his career?

I mean, really?

"He's handling it the same way he handles everything," Keisel said. "He saw me after we found out and said to me, 'Listen, bro, I don't want any pity parties.' I told him, 'I'm not worried about you, Aaron. I'm worried about me and the team. What are we going to do without you?' "

The Steelers will carry on. They don't have a choice. They are 5-2 and must get ready for a big home game Sunday against the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens come to town the following Sunday.

Life goes on in the NFL, no matter what.

"That's just the way this game is," Keisel said.

He, Farrior, Foote and the other 30-something players know their time is coming. Smith's injury made them painfully aware of their football mortality. None liked that feeling.

"It hits you hard," Foote said. "First, Jerome [Bettis] left. Then, Joey [Porter]. Now, Aaron. Every one of us knows we're going to have to cross that bridge one day. You don't like to think about it, but it's always in your mind."

As Farrior put it, "We're all on deck."

The 30-somethings should be so lucky to face the end of their career with Smith's strength and class.

They should be so lucky to be so well-remembered.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11298/11 ... z1blX3KNVM (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11298/1184658-87-0.stm#ixzz1blX3KNVM)

Slapstick
10-25-2011, 08:43 AM
Huge mistake and I hope we never repeat it again... you can't turn back the clock and it's a young man's game so what exactly were we hoping for?

We have different definitions of "huge mistake"...

Starlifter
10-25-2011, 09:07 AM
i can't fault any decision on keeping Aaron smith around. when you get a player as good as he is - you simply HAVE to give him the chance to prove he can still bring it. besides, don't forget all the stuff he brings to the team the fans never see outside of sunday. how he composes himself. his work ethic. how he practices, etc. players rally around a guy like aaron smith.

sad to see his career end this way - but he has been the unsung hero of that defense for 10 years. there are a small handful of players about who you can say - if they aren't on the team, the steelers don't win superbowls. AS is one of them.

feltdizz
10-25-2011, 09:28 AM
i can't fault any decision on keeping Aaron smith around. when you get a player as good as he is - you simply HAVE to give him the chance to prove he can still bring it. besides, don't forget all the stuff he brings to the team the fans never see outside of sunday. how he composes himself. his work ethic. how he practices, etc. players rally around a guy like aaron smith.

sad to see his career end this way - but he has been the unsung hero of that defense for 10 years. there are a small handful of players about who you can say - if they aren't on the team, the steelers don't win superbowls. AS is one of them.

3 years of chances? I don't agree. Even now some fans are delusional and still hoping he can come back and give it one more shot. :wft

We aren't doing the guy or our team any favors by keeping him around and watching him tear his body to pieces. I know it's his decision but for the love of God sometimes coaches and the FO need to make the decision for a player like AS. He will always come back and give it one more shot. He looks old... REALLY old in that photo.

Watching Smitty get trucked and pancaked wasn't fun or the Steeler way IMO. It was torture and I hope we never do that to another player.

ikestops85
10-25-2011, 10:00 AM
i can't fault any decision on keeping Aaron smith around. when you get a player as good as he is - you simply HAVE to give him the chance to prove he can still bring it. besides, don't forget all the stuff he brings to the team the fans never see outside of sunday. how he composes himself. his work ethic. how he practices, etc. players rally around a guy like aaron smith.

sad to see his career end this way - but he has been the unsung hero of that defense for 10 years. there are a small handful of players about who you can say - if they aren't on the team, the steelers don't win superbowls. AS is one of them.

3 years of chances? I don't agree. Even now some fans are delusional and still hoping he can come back and give it one more shot. :wft

We aren't doing the guy or our team any favors by keeping him around and watching him tear his body to pieces. I know it's his decision but for the love of God sometimes coaches and the FO need to make the decision for a player like AS. He will always come back and give it one more shot. He looks old... REALLY old in that photo.

Watching Smitty get trucked and pancaked wasn't fun or the Steeler way IMO. It was torture and I hope we never do that to another player.

C'mon, this was the first year that Smitty's play went downhill. Yes he got injured the last few years but how was the front office supposed to know that? As you can tell from the reaction of the players Smith's presence alone helped the team.

Aaron, thanks for all the good memories. You are definitely one of the classiest players this organization has ever known. God Bless!!

RuthlessBurgher
10-25-2011, 12:37 PM
Brett Keisel had many years playing with Aaron, and it made him a better player.

Ziggy Hood had a couple of years playing with Aaron, and it made him a better player.

Cam Heyward had only a few months playing with Aaron, but I think it could also make him a better player.

I'm glad he was kept around for this year, even if it had to end prematurely, if only to provide an example of what it means to be a professional to the younger players...show them what it means to be a Steeler.

feltdizz
10-25-2011, 01:02 PM
i can't fault any decision on keeping Aaron smith around. when you get a player as good as he is - you simply HAVE to give him the chance to prove he can still bring it. besides, don't forget all the stuff he brings to the team the fans never see outside of sunday. how he composes himself. his work ethic. how he practices, etc. players rally around a guy like aaron smith.

sad to see his career end this way - but he has been the unsung hero of that defense for 10 years. there are a small handful of players about who you can say - if they aren't on the team, the steelers don't win superbowls. AS is one of them.

3 years of chances? I don't agree. Even now some fans are delusional and still hoping he can come back and give it one more shot. :wft

We aren't doing the guy or our team any favors by keeping him around and watching him tear his body to pieces. I know it's his decision but for the love of God sometimes coaches and the FO need to make the decision for a player like AS. He will always come back and give it one more shot. He looks old... REALLY old in that photo.

Watching Smitty get trucked and pancaked wasn't fun or the Steeler way IMO. It was torture and I hope we never do that to another player.

C'mon, this was the first year that Smitty's play went downhill. Yes he got injured the last few years but how was the front office supposed to know that? As you can tell from the reaction of the players Smith's presence alone helped the team.

Aaron, thanks for all the good memories. You are definitely one of the classiest players this organization has ever known. God Bless!!

always said he should've been a coach a year or 2 ago.

Pahn711
10-25-2011, 01:08 PM
If you treat people like the dollar is the most important thing to you, they will play like the dollar is the most important thing to them. A team will reap what they sow... the Steeler organization has been rewarded many times over for doing the player right on most occasions.

Thats certainly a nice cliche, but thats not how the NFL works. It HAS to be about money, cause at the end of the day, most players (and most certainly their agents) will gouge a team for every penny they can get. And they should. But that also means every team has to be on the defensive.

Now, the Steelers have gotten lucky in getting some players who were willing to take less to stay (and how they treat their players has a lot to do with it) but thats not the norm. How many guys are gonna pass up an extra couple of million just because they might get treated a bit better in Pittsburgh?

For as many guys that the Steelers have "done right by," theres plenty who were shown the door that would probably say the opposite. Ask Alan Faneca if he thinks the Steelers did right by him.

kindlecatsb'ng
10-25-2011, 01:18 PM
It was sad to hear of Smith's injury and his imminent end of career. People like him are hard to replace because it is not only his physical play that he brings to the team.

That said, emotionally for the locker-room, it would be great for them to latch onto this and take it all the way to the Super Bowl with a win for Aaron. Just like they did for Jerome. It is going above and beyond a normal desire to win it all--now it has a name to it.

Wishing Smith the best in his health and post-football career.

Kindle

:tt2

RuthlessBurgher
10-25-2011, 01:26 PM
Ask Alan Faneca if he thinks the Steelers did right by him.

Was Aaron Smith ever a whiny little beeyotch? Didn't think so.

By the way, the Steelers invited Faneca back for a pre-game Terrible Towel twirl in our last home game. He attended, with his family in tow. In spite of how things went down, I think the Steelers still respect Alan, and Alan still respects the Steelers.

Pahn711
10-25-2011, 02:04 PM
Ask Alan Faneca if he thinks the Steelers did right by him.

Was Aaron Smith ever a whiny little beeyotch? Didn't think so.

By the way, the Steelers invited Faneca back for a pre-game Terrible Towel twirl in our last home game. He attended, with his family in tow. In spite of how things went down, I think the Steelers still respect Alan, and Alan still respects the Steelers.

Besides the fact that Aaron Smith doesn't have the Pro Bowls and general recognition around the league that Faneca had to make a fair comparison, why does him burying the hatchet now AFTER he is retired prove he still doesn't think he was treated fairly at that time? Maybe he just finally got over it. The Steelers promised him a contract extension for a few years and they said he had to "wait his turn." He waited his turn and it ended up not being a fair offer to him.

Anyways, Faneca was just one example of a high profile guy I could think of off the top of my head. There are plenty of them, heck every guy who played for them a few years and then got let go could conceivably say they weren't done right. But this is a business not a popularity contest filled with warm fuzzy feelings, thats the point.

feltdizz
10-25-2011, 03:04 PM
This isn't about Aaron Smith as much as it's about the idea that a "special" player can get the red carpet treatment while missing 30+ games the last 3 years... or whatever the number is. Who else will get this treatment because we have some good vets who have helped us get to the SB the last few years. I know if sounds good to say Smitty was the reason but we all know he was one of many.

How many of these types of players do we have? Casey, Farrior, Miller... what happens when these guys start missing significant time? Are we really that classy that fans will be ok letting player Duce it up on the sideline while eating up cap space?

Hood and the youngsters picked up where Smitty left off and we didn't see a significant drop off, in fact, we saw an improvement.

I know Smitty has a special place in fans hearts but geez... he was getting killed out there. I didn't see it as a good thing but I guess some did. I kept hearing "Smitty deserves to go out on his own terms" but it was 3 years and look how he went out?

He didn't deserve that IMO... he deserved to be sat down by his peers and coaches and told the truth. He didn't deserve to get tossed like a rag doll and have a neck injury that may damage him for life. After 3 years of IR it's our doctors job and our coaches job to protect a guy who never says it's over.

It's like a boxing manager letting his guy get killed for that one last pay day that he doesn't need when you know his jab is slow, his eye sight is foggy and the kid in the other corner is 22 and ready to go 12 rounds.

ikestops85
10-26-2011, 12:24 PM
This isn't about Aaron Smith as much as it's about the idea that a "special" player can get the red carpet treatment while missing 30+ games the last 3 years... or whatever the number is. Who else will get this treatment because we have some good vets who have helped us get to the SB the last few years. I know if sounds good to say Smitty was the reason but we all know he was one of many.

How many of these types of players do we have? Casey, Farrior, Miller... what happens when these guys start missing significant time? Are we really that classy that fans will be ok letting player Duce it up on the sideline while eating up cap space?

Hood and the youngsters picked up where Smitty left off and we didn't see a significant drop off, in fact, we saw an improvement.

I know Smitty has a special place in fans hearts but geez... he was getting killed out there. I didn't see it as a good thing but I guess some did. I kept hearing "Smitty deserves to go out on his own terms" but it was 3 years and look how he went out?

He didn't deserve that IMO... he deserved to be sat down by his peers and coaches and told the truth. He didn't deserve to get tossed like a rag doll and have a neck injury that may damage him for life. After 3 years of IR it's our doctors job and our coaches job to protect a guy who never says it's over.

It's like a boxing manager letting his guy get killed for that one last pay day that he doesn't need when you know his jab is slow, his eye sight is foggy and the kid in the other corner is 22 and ready to go 12 rounds.

I'm not sure where you are coming from.

Two years ago when AS got hurt our run defense started getting gashed and we went on that horrible losing streak. We had a real problem trying to fill in for him.

Last year was the first year that we successfully filled in for Aaron when he was injured. Ziggy did a great job. However, he was still playing at a high level when he got hurt.

Granted that AS didn't look good this year but why is that such a huge mistake by the team keeping him? I think Ziggy was starting to get more and more plays this season anyway. Now that Aaron is on IR Ziggy gets to start which is great.

So what 'red carpet' treatment were we giving Smith? He got hurt so we should cut him? Troy was hurt in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Should we have cut him? At most we kept Smith playing this season when his play was not up to par ... but that is not taking into account his leadership on the team. Keisel, a ten year veteran, still looks up to Aaron. Can you imagine what the young guys think of him? The Steelers made out pretty damn well with Smitty and vice a versa.

feltdizz
10-26-2011, 01:14 PM
This isn't about Aaron Smith as much as it's about the idea that a "special" player can get the red carpet treatment while missing 30+ games the last 3 years... or whatever the number is. Who else will get this treatment because we have some good vets who have helped us get to the SB the last few years. I know if sounds good to say Smitty was the reason but we all know he was one of many.

How many of these types of players do we have? Casey, Farrior, Miller... what happens when these guys start missing significant time? Are we really that classy that fans will be ok letting player Duce it up on the sideline while eating up cap space?

Hood and the youngsters picked up where Smitty left off and we didn't see a significant drop off, in fact, we saw an improvement.

I know Smitty has a special place in fans hearts but geez... he was getting killed out there. I didn't see it as a good thing but I guess some did. I kept hearing "Smitty deserves to go out on his own terms" but it was 3 years and look how he went out?

He didn't deserve that IMO... he deserved to be sat down by his peers and coaches and told the truth. He didn't deserve to get tossed like a rag doll and have a neck injury that may damage him for life. After 3 years of IR it's our doctors job and our coaches job to protect a guy who never says it's over.

It's like a boxing manager letting his guy get killed for that one last pay day that he doesn't need when you know his jab is slow, his eye sight is foggy and the kid in the other corner is 22 and ready to go 12 rounds.

I'm not sure where you are coming from.

Two years ago when AS got hurt our run defense started getting gashed and we went on that horrible losing streak. We had a real problem trying to fill in for him.

Last year was the first year that we successfully filled in for Aaron when he was injured. Ziggy did a great job. However, he was still playing at a high level when he got hurt.

Granted that AS didn't look good this year but why is that such a huge mistake by the team keeping him? I think Ziggy was starting to get more and more plays this season anyway. Now that Aaron is on IR Ziggy gets to start which is great.

So what 'red carpet' treatment were we giving Smith? He got hurt so we should cut him? Troy was hurt in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Should we have cut him? At most we kept Smith playing this season when his play was not up to par ... but that is not taking into account his leadership on the team. Keisel, a ten year veteran, still looks up to Aaron. Can you imagine what the young guys think of him? The Steelers made out pretty damn well with Smitty and vice a versa.

Our run D was getting gashed in 2009? :nono

It was our passing D who was getting abused in 2009 in the 4th quarter and that was due to Troy being out. No INT's by any DB's except Troy until the last game. You could say the pressure wasn't as good without Smitty in 2009 but we were winning most games until teams went to the no huddle in the 4th quarter.

If Troy had season ending injuries the last 3 years and was 35 I think we would all say Troy was done and shouldn't have been retained the last season.

We made out great with Smitty... but you can also say we made out great with Smitty on the sideline in street clothes.

I'm not knocking what he has done but I think people are forgetting how much time he has missed and what we were able to do without him.

steelz09
10-26-2011, 02:19 PM
Smitty was a great Steeler. He was and always will be remembered as a great Steelers 3-4 d-lineman.

It's unfortunate that it has to end w/ a neck injury but it's time to move on w/ Ziggy. He deserved the starting role and now he has it. I for one, am glad he's starting.

I know Smitty said in training camp that someone would probably have to tell him when to "hang it up". I hope he realizes that the neck injury was probably a message is disguise to "hang it up". I wish him the best in his recovery.

Slapstick
10-26-2011, 02:49 PM
I think when the team physician tells you that a neck injury may paralyze you, that's as good as saying, "It's time."

feltdizz
10-26-2011, 02:58 PM
Smitty was a great Steeler. He was and always will be remembered as a great Steelers 3-4 d-lineman.

It's unfortunate that it has to end w/ a neck injury but it's time to move on w/ Ziggy. He deserved the starting role and now he has it. I for one, am glad he's starting.

I know Smitty said in training camp that someone would probably have to tell him when to "hang it up". I hope he realizes that the neck injury was probably a message is disguise to "hang it up". I wish him the best in his recovery.

:Agree

I guess that's my point... Smitty needed someone to tell him it was a wrap and our FO failed him IMO.

His body was telling him, he admitted as much by telling reporters he expected and was willing to take a pay cut...

Everything said "hang it up" and now he has a neck injury... I know he is a grown man but some players need to be told it's over. If he tries to come back next year do we let him once again go out on his terms?

BradshawsHairdresser
10-26-2011, 03:29 PM
Smitty was a great Steeler. He was and always will be remembered as a great Steelers 3-4 d-lineman.

It's unfortunate that it has to end w/ a neck injury but it's time to move on w/ Ziggy. He deserved the starting role and now he has it. I for one, am glad he's starting.

I know Smitty said in training camp that someone would probably have to tell him when to "hang it up". I hope he realizes that the neck injury was probably a message is disguise to "hang it up". I wish him the best in his recovery.

:Agree

I guess that's my point... Smitty needed someone to tell him it was a wrap and our FO failed him IMO.

His body was telling him, he admitted as much by telling reporters he expected and was willing to take a pay cut...

Everything said "hang it up" and now he has a neck injury... I know he is a grown man but some players need to be told it's over. If he tries to come back next year do we let him once again go out on his terms?

Buy him a gold watch, a box of nice cigars, and a Cadillac, 'cause it's time for him to move on.

Smitty, we deeply appreciate all that you've done for our beloved Steelers...you were a great, unsung part of a tremendous run for our defense. You inspired your teammates and always gave your all on the field. Enjoy your retirement, and know that you will always have a special place in Steelers' history, and in the hearts of Black and Gold fans. :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2