Blog Entry

Report: Steelers to release DE Aaron Smith

Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:08 pm
 
Ward and Smith were the two remaining players the organization had drafted in the 1990s. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Steelers' veteran purge continues: a day after Pittsburgh announced that they would release wide receiver Hines Ward, defensive end Aaron Smith is next in line, according to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora.

NFL News, Notes
Smith, like Ward, was drafted in the 1990s, and was an integral part to the team's success for much of the 2000s. But after starting every game but one from 2000-2006, Smith missed five games in 2007, and played in just 15 games from 2009-11 while he recovered from an assortment of injuries. In Dick LeBeau's 3-4 scheme, the defensive ends aren't pass-rushing specialists; instead, they're responsible for taking on blocks (and often double-teams) while the linebackers behind them make the tackles.

At the height of his career, Smith was considered the prototypical 3-4 end. And while he wasn't a household name, his talents didn't go unnoticed; Patriots head coach Bill Belichick once singled him out as one if his favorite players to watch. But that was before injuries and age caught up to him.

Now 35, Smith's fate doesn't come as a surprise. In four games in 2011, he wasn't nearly the player the Steelers had watched for more than a decade. And with the organization's current salary-cap situation, there were going to be some roster casualties. On Wednesday, it was Ward, one of the best players in team history. Thursday it appears to be Smith. And in the coming weeks and months, linebackers James Farrior and Larry Foote, and nose tackle Casey Hampton could also see their careers in Pittsburgh come to an end.

But the Steelers have been preparing for this day; they drafted defensive linemen Ziggy Hood in 2009 and Cameron Heyward in 2011. Hood started nine games in 2010 and 14 games last season, while Heyward saw action in 16 games as a rookie.

Every offseason comes with player turnover, but the Steelers roster could look much different in 2012, especially if Mike Wallace ends up elsewhere.

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Comments

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:49 am
 

Report: Steelers to release DE Aaron Smith

This is why the Steelers will always be one of the best teams in the league every year...they know when to let veterans go and replace them with young talent.
If this were always true they would have released him after 2008. He played a total of 15 games in the past three seasons. And had a fat contract.



Since: Oct 28, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:21 am
 

Report: Steelers to release DE Aaron Smith

This is why the Steelers will always be one of the best teams in the league every year...they know when to let veterans go and replace them with young talent. Next to go should be Casey Hampton and his 8 million cap hit. GO STEELERS!!!



Since: Apr 15, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 7:51 am
 

Report: Steelers to release DE Aaron Smith

Big Ben, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, Woodley, Pouncey, Polamalu, Clark ....need I go on. The young nucleus of this team is still in tact, as great of an organization as the Steelers are this is still a business and once these players pass their prime it's time to cut them loose. It's hard to see them go because if what we remember about them but to consistently be at or near the top these moves are necessary. See Kevin Green and Levon Kirkland, they were released at the right time and while it was not popular to see guys like that go either, it sure made sense the following year. 



Since: Jan 22, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:39 am
 

Report: Steelers to release DE Aaron Smith

Who aren't these guys going to release???


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