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Aaron Smith’s season is over; career in doubt

Aaron Smith AP

Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith, one of the most underrated players of his era, will end another season on injured reseve.

The team announced Saturday that Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. The 35-year-old has played in only 15 games over the last three years because of various injuries.  Undrafted free agent defensive end Corbin Bryant will replace him on the roster.

The team placed Smith on I.R. in 2009 early, and kept him on the roster last year in hopes he’d return for the Super Bowl. He wasn’t able to make it back.

On balance, Smith has probably been the most valuable Steelers defender over the last decade except for Troy Polamalu.  He did the dirty work up front so the outside linebackers could shine.  Smith has started since 2000.

It’s worth wondering if this will be the end of the road for the 13-year veteran.  He started 152 games over that stretch.

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61 Responses to “Aaron Smith’s season is over; career in doubt”
  1. bigshirk says: Oct 22, 2011 3:04 PM

    Really Good 3-4 DE’s always seem to be underrated

  2. henrykissingerisgod says: Oct 22, 2011 3:05 PM

    If a player is always called the most underrated player of his era by everyone is he really underrated?

  3. mikeb233 says: Oct 22, 2011 3:07 PM

    this really is unfortunate. aaron smith was probably the best 3-4 defensive end in the league in his prime and never got the credit he truly desrved.

  4. mvpolamalu says: Oct 22, 2011 3:07 PM

    The president of glass land

  5. kravenm3 says: Oct 22, 2011 3:08 PM

    Sucks to hear this but I can’t say its all that surprising. He hasn’t been completely healthy for a few years now. I guess all good things must come to an end. Smith was an important piece on a lot of good Steelers teams. Best of luck and God bless to him and his family.

  6. shieldsisland37 says: Oct 22, 2011 3:14 PM

    Its fine, we have a new Smith DE in San Fran to root for. Its too bad this guys career is over, maybe. But, the new guy in San Fran is a beast. I have never seen a 3-4 end, who’s only job is to hold a block, dominate and pass rush the way he does. Out with the old and in with the new. That is half the fun of this league.

  7. clayton43 says: Oct 22, 2011 3:18 PM

    Unfortunately.. unless you are a Steelers fan you probably wont know much about him and just how valuable he was to the Steelers D since he has been here. The upfront guys dont get much credit in a 3-4 but he will be misssed by all Steelers fans since I am afraid this will be his last year unless he is going to play for a minimum but I cant even see that happening wit hthe additions of Hood and Heyward stepping in as first round picks. I am not sure if even stayed healthy he wouldd be coming back next year due to age and slowing down a bit. Loved the guy and loved watching him play and he will be one of my all time favorite Steelers !! Awesome guy and sad that possibly last season he has to go out on IR.

  8. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 22, 2011 3:39 PM

    How can he be underrated when we ALWAYS hear about him? Seriously, a few years ago he would get talked about more than Ed Reed- the best safety in history. I can’t even imagine the media attention Reed would get if he played for the Steelers. Just look at Polamalu- the guy has less than half as many INTs as Reed, misses tackles like its his job, has about 1/10 as many return yards (literally), about 1/6 as many TDs, and less tackles per year than when Reed played SS (the last few years he’s played 25 yards downfield; when playing the same position, Reed was LITERALLY better in EVERY SINGLE STATISTICAL category) yet we probably hear about Polamalu 30x as much as Reed. As a Ravens fan, I’m mad this guy is on IR, he was truly awful this year. And has been overrated his whole career.

  9. jgo304 says: Oct 22, 2011 3:43 PM

    As a stiller hater I have to give prop’s to the Sackmaster a GREAT 3-4 DE.

  10. ahostiletakeover says: Oct 22, 2011 3:47 PM

    As a Ravens fan, I saw Smith play quite a bit. He was an underrated player, good 3-4 DEs usually are. All the injuries are unfortunate, but its probably for the best if the Steelers move on. Ziggy Hood is already arguably a better player anyway and they just drafted Heyward to go with Keisel as well, their DEs won’t miss a beat. Now on the other hand, with Hampton and Hoke out, they are are pretty weak up the middle of that line. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Beanie Well break off a couple of good runs up the gut tomorrow.

  11. bostonbias says: Oct 22, 2011 3:54 PM

    How can he be underrated when we ALWAYS hear about him? Seriously, a few years ago he would get talked about more than Ed Reed- the best safety in history. I can’t even imagine the media attention Reed would get if he played for the Steelers. Just look at Polamalu- the guy has less than half as many INTs as Reed, misses tackles like its his job, has about 1/10 as many return yards (literally), about 1/6 as many TDs, and less tackles per year than when Reed played SS (the last few years he’s played 25 yards downfield; when playing the same position, Reed was LITERALLY better in EVERY SINGLE STATISTICAL category) yet we probably hear about Polamalu 30x as much as Reed. As a Ravens fan, I’m mad this guy is on IR, he was truly awful this year. And has been overrated his whole career.

    Just more evidence of why most objective fans think that that Raven fans are the worst in all of football.

  12. warvette says: Oct 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    where’s that 7thlombardi guy lately? he get banned? i miss his claims of them starting their own league, and by the way, as much pub as the steelers get year after year, i find it hard to think anybody on that team is underrated anymore.

  13. righthereisay says: Oct 22, 2011 4:01 PM

    He’s a great guy and all, but the Steelers really looked at him as a person, and not from the business side. He’s making a ton of money, and we should have cut him at the beginning of the year and maybe got some offensive line help, or even at corner.

    Same with Hampton, and Farrior. That’s $20 million on those 3…

  14. henrykissingerisgod says: Oct 22, 2011 4:01 PM

    Ccool,

    You hear more about polamalu because he has rings. The biggest game of ed reeds career he watched from the sidelines as troy pick sixed the steelers to the superbowl..ed reed is not even the Dan marino of defense. At least Marino made a superbowl..

  15. flakazoid says: Oct 22, 2011 4:11 PM

    ccoolahan14 says:Oct 22, 2011 3:39 PM

    Belichik has called Aaron Smith the best 3-4 DE he ever coached against. I value his opinion slightly more than yours. Sorry.

  16. yukon672010 says: Oct 22, 2011 4:21 PM

    The difference between raven and steeled fans. Here a steeler is lost, and raven fans pay proper and deserved respect for a very good football player. Had this been Ed reed or ray Lewis ….well, we have seen the responses before …..

    Here is hoping steeler fan can see what paying respect looks like, and grow up.

  17. pskotte says: Oct 22, 2011 4:23 PM

    One down, 52 to go.

  18. steelersfan88007 says: Oct 22, 2011 4:25 PM

    It’s true, all good things must eventually come to an end. It’s also true that he was several years beyond his prime, and his days were already numbered with Hood waiting to take his place. At the same time it does make me sad to see it come to an end. Here’s to one of the elite Steelers players who’s career we will always remember fondly.

  19. cmiddel says: Oct 22, 2011 4:27 PM

    Ccoolahan your not bright are you Troy is better and reed has played like 10 years longer…. How may rings does Reed have?

  20. danrooneyii says: Oct 22, 2011 4:28 PM

    Troy transcends the game. Reed is a better pure safety but he can not make the plays that Polamalu does. I don’t see Reed making unbelievable diving interceptions, jumping over offensive lineman to get a sack, or meeting guys like Chris Johnson and MJD on key third downs in the backfield. Troy does a lot more than ballhawk. He’s a complete safety. Being the best at that position doesn’t mean having the most interceptions. Quit going ga-ga over glamour stats and start paying attention to more than one aspect of the game.

  21. canetic says: Oct 22, 2011 4:29 PM

    Bob Sanders thinks he’s fragile.

  22. charmcityalum says: Oct 22, 2011 4:32 PM

    As a Ravens fan I’m not sorry to see him go. As a fan of football he was a rock solid player and a major contributor on some really good Steeler defenses over the last decade. Good luck to him and his family.

  23. runtheball says: Oct 22, 2011 4:37 PM

    Probably would have retired had they won the Super Bowl last year. Great Man foremost great player as well. Hope he hangs it up and gets on with his life’s work. Hope his little boy beats his illness.

  24. Bubby Brister says: Oct 22, 2011 4:38 PM

    I hate to say it but this might be better for everybody. He needs to ride off into the sunset for his own sake and I’m starting to think he was actually part of the defense’s problem with stopping the run this year. Wish the guy the best and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as a 3-4 DE (which sadly isn’t likely to ever happen).

    ccoolahan14: Proving yet again that an IQ test isn’t part of the PFT registration process.

    yukon672010: I don’t know which Steelers fans you’re talking about, but it’s pretty much common knowledge around Pittsburgh that if Ray Lewis had spent his entire career as a Steeler, there would already be a statue of him downtown. Most of us do hate the guy but we have a tremendous amount of respect for him. At least the smart ones do.

  25. steelersfan88007 says: Oct 22, 2011 4:45 PM

    yukon672010 says: Oct 22, 2011 4:21 PM

    The difference between raven and steeled fans. Here a steeler is lost, and raven fans pay proper and deserved respect for a very good football player. Had this been Ed reed or ray Lewis ….well, we have seen the responses before …..

    Here is hoping steeler fan can see what paying respect looks like, and grow up.
    __________________________________
    This is your idea of paying respect? Really?

  26. tell says: Oct 22, 2011 4:58 PM

    Not only has Aaron Smith battled injuries, he’s had a son battling leukemia since 2008. Diagnosed at age 4.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08349/935071-66.stm

    Not looking good for Aaron to return but the guy gives 100% every play..

    Hope he can come back next year. If not, God Bless his family with healing and strength.

  27. willcool21 says: Oct 22, 2011 4:59 PM

    justin smith more underrated?

  28. Lev says: Oct 22, 2011 5:00 PM

    Always tough to see a guy at the end of a career be bitten by the injury bug.. Hope the best for him

  29. pgh75 says: Oct 22, 2011 5:56 PM

    As a Steelers fan I will appreciate what Aaron has done for the team his whole career. Dont like to see careers end with injuries, but wish him and his family the best.

  30. melikefootball says: Oct 22, 2011 6:11 PM

    Watching the Steelers this guy was always mentioned on tackles, yet never got the glory. He has been a big part of what made the 3-4 work in Pittsburgh. This team continues to be beat up this year.

  31. Sam Von Schamm says: Oct 22, 2011 6:13 PM

    Aaron Smith belongs in the Hall of Fame, given that he’s the best 3-4 DE of his generation.

    As to the Polamalu-Reed debate…..Stop It B, they don’t play the same position.

    Strong safeties and free safeties are two entirely different creatures.

  32. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 22, 2011 6:19 PM

    flakazoid-

    Belichick called Ed Reed the greatest safety EVER. I value his opinion slightly more than yours.

    henrykissingerisgod-

    So why don’t we hear about whoever played next to Rodney Harrison for NE (I would’ve said Ryan Clark but we hear about HIM more than Reed). And by your logic, Anthony Carter is a better safety than Reed right? Oh, and let’s look at Polamalu his last 2 super bowl trips- FOUR TDs allowed (not a misprint), at least 6 missed tackles. The SB against Seattle he didn’t record a SINGLE TACKLE! As a STRONG safety! 0 tackles, 2 TDs allowed! Meanwhile, Reed has MORE INTs in the playoffs than ANY OTHER ACTIVE PLAYER! So you’re saying because Steelers played rigged games Polamalu is better than Reed! Ha wow you’re not too smart are you?

  33. Deb says: Oct 22, 2011 6:29 PM

    Hate to hear this. Losing Aaron to injury in previous season was as instrumental in keeping us out of the playoffs as losing Troy. His contribution has been immeasurable. Fortunately, we’ve finally brought in younger players who can perform adequately at that position. But it still won’t be the same without him. I hope his career doesn’t end on an injury. All the best to Aaron and his family.

  34. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 22, 2011 6:34 PM

    bostonbias-

    Talk about the pot meeting the kettle.

    cmiddel-

    you state that I’m not very smart, with your reasoning being that Reed “has played like 10 more years” than Polamalu haha. Uh, Reed was drafted ONE YEAR before Reed, sorry if their stats just make it seem like Reed just started playing. Oh, and if Reed had played several years LESS than Polamalu, let’s just say it STILL wouldn’t make a difference- until last year, Reed had more INTs, return yards, AND TDs in his FIRST THREE YEARS IN THE LEAGUE (mind you, when Reed played STRONG safety- i.e. the same position Troy plays), than Troy Polamalu had in his ENTIRE CAREER! Again, what is the argument between the two? There is none. You all have been completely brainwashed by the media. Looks like you all are the idiots.

  35. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 22, 2011 6:37 PM

    like Polamalu* just started playing.

  36. ninerboi says: Oct 22, 2011 6:57 PM

    Great player. Speedy recovery.

  37. henrykissingerisgod says: Oct 22, 2011 7:32 PM

    ccoolahan14

    you talk about my intelligence but you think games are rigged. you must be moron. do you really think refs would risk their jobs so they could have the steelers win, please. there would be so many people involved in rigging a game that by now some tell all book would be put out and blackmailing and bribery would be rampant. you are just another delusional idiot who cant handle reality so he makes up excuses to deal with it. get a grip lil buddy, get a grip!!!

    and i bet ed reed would relish the opportunity to give up a td in the superbowl but he cant and wont…whenever ed reed retires he will walk to the hall of fame podium with a printed out sheet from profootballreference with his stats on it and when troy gives his speech he will walk up there with multiple lombardis

  38. 3yardsndust says: Oct 22, 2011 8:05 PM

    All the best to Aaron Smith – a great player who has a lot to proud of. Thanks, Aaron!

  39. charmcityalum says: Oct 22, 2011 8:08 PM

    How in the world did this turn into another tired Reed/Polamalu debate?

    How about we give the man has props and let’s at least try to restrict the Reed/Polamalu arguments to articles where at least one of those players are mentioned.

  40. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 22, 2011 8:08 PM

    Ha WOW henrykissingerisgod- talk about being a moron. Do I really think a ref would risk their job? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF TIM DONGAGHY? You know, the ref who ADMITTED to rigging games only about 2 years ago? The one who revealed that several other refs did the same. And I guess you’ve never heard of Walt Coleman either. He’s the ref that “officiated” (read: “rigged”) SB XL. Well, a few months back he essentially ADMITTED that he rigged the game. Yes, the REF HIMSELF stated that he changed the game by blowing calls for the Steelers.

    And on what basis is Polamalu going to the hall of fame haha? And no, I don’t think the fact that he gave up 4 TDs in 2 SBs will cut it. Or the fact that, in the most important game of his life, there is video of the opposition on the sideline literally saying that they should throw directly at Polamalu because he can’t cover anyone, then doing exactly that for a TD. Believe it or not, you have to be above average statistically to make the hall of fame. Sorry, Troy, your only real hope is that because you’re so overrated by the media bc you have a top selling jersey, that you will be able to get in even though you’re clearly undeserving. On the bright side, you truly are THAT overrated, so maybe there’s hope.

  41. charmcityalum says: Oct 22, 2011 8:10 PM

    Shoot….I see where they mentioned Troy in the article but you get my point.

  42. kilo0986 says: Oct 22, 2011 8:10 PM

    Ccolahan watch the damn game and you will see how polamalu makes clutch key plays again and again. You’re the one brainwashed by stat sheets and madden. And yeah he had more int but how many of those have pushed their team into the super bowl? Thats right, NONE. How many rings does he have? THATS RIGHT NONE! WHAT ARGUMENT DO YOU HAVE? THATS RIGHT NONE!

  43. bigblaw says: Oct 22, 2011 8:10 PM

    @Ccolahan. First off Ed reed has more interceptions like Polamalu has half of reeds. But Ed does not even have HALF OF troys tackles. Not even half of his tackles. Who plays and who plays like Deion ? Different but c’mon. Someone hits AND intercepts and some one Intercepts and DON’t Hit. Aaron smith is awesome BTW

  44. miketomlinssteelers10 says: Oct 22, 2011 8:28 PM

    Sorry to see him go because of an injury but I like the way our guys are stepping up and playing. A.S. will be missed but LeBeau will figure a way to dial up more pressure and keep the ship sailing. I feel like the D will be alright,it’s the O that I’m worried about.

  45. henrykissingerisgod says: Oct 22, 2011 8:37 PM

    ccoolahan14

    the fact that you say troy will not make the hall of fame ruins all of your credibility and replying to any of your posts are pointless…

    you are probably 14 which means you have no recollection of the ravens winning a superbowl i on the other hand have partied in the streets of pittsburgh after watching my favorite team win the biggest game twice

  46. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 22, 2011 9:49 PM

    bigblaw-

    Thanks for proving once again how brainwashed everyone is regarding the the man, the myth and the…well that’s it, he’s just a myth. Reed doesn’t have even HALF, even HALF his tackles? Reed has MORE solo tackles (i.e. the ones in which he actually makes the tackle, not jumping on the pile and getting credit because the media loves him). He has only 30 less total tackles (which of course means that Reed makes a significantly higher percentage of solo tackles). And the fact that you think Polamalu CAN hit and Reed CAN’T hit probably proves more than anything how overrated Polamalu is and how underrated Reed is. Seriously, find me THREE big Polamalu hits in his ENTIRE CAREER! Then go look up Reed’s big hits. Reed is WITHOUT QUESTION the harder hitter, but again, because everyone is brainwashed you group of idiots actually think the opposite (SERIOUSLY, name another player who routinely gets labeled a “big hitter” despite the fact that, um, he has about TWO legitimately “big” hits his ENTIRE CAREER. HE IS A MYTH. A JERSEY SELLING MYTH. I guess you morons think Tim Tebow gets talked about so much because he has had a really great pro career right? IT COULDN’T BE BECAUSE HE HAS A TOP SELLING JERSEY JUST LIKE POLAMALU COULD IT? Morons…Absolute and utter brainwashed morons).

    henrykissingerisgod-

    If its so obvious that Troy is a hall of famer, then surely you can tell me WHY he’s a hall of famer! Unless, of course, you realize you’ve been proven wrong, that Polamalu is vastly overrated, and are too heartbroken to face reality (as is exactly the case. TRUST ME, I know that you’re mad. You’ve been brainwashed into thinking there is a legitimate argument to be made over the two because Polamalu is good for ratings so the media talks about him all the time, but now for the first time you’re realizing that its not even close, but are too hurt to admit it). No really, give me your reasoning for why he’s a hall of famer. And no, the fact that he had two all-time pathetic performances for a supposedly “great” player for two Super Bowls does not qualify him. Do you think Ryan Clark is a hall of famer too? haha Seriously, lets get some info to back your case up (here comes the insults/he has 2 SBs*/”you don’t know what you’re talking about” comments because you HAVE NO CASE AND YOU KNOW IT. HAHA).

  47. bigblaw says: Oct 22, 2011 10:21 PM

    Are you real ? Polamalu over the top on titans hit Titans rb from center field and on Denver Rb same shot. I DEFY YOU TO SHOW REED DOING THAT. Mine was from being their your from NOTHING. Dude or dudett you really don’t know and are reaching Ed is good at ball hawking. Troy is Great at both. Hardest hit for Ed?? When ward lays him out

  48. bigblaw says: Oct 22, 2011 10:23 PM

    Boom goes the reed

  49. winnersagain says: Oct 22, 2011 11:35 PM

    Troy Polamalu overrated and cant cover anyone. PLEASE! This guy had 7 ints before getting hurt toward the end of the year. He had anothe 7 two years before that. Troy will be in the Hall of Fame before his career is up, bank on it. Reed and Polamalu will both be in the Hall. Cut the Nonsense out! As far as the Seattle/Steeler Superbowl game goes, still cant believe people are still talking about that. The ref may have admitted to a couple blown calls which I remember only one.(hit on the qb) The bottom line in the game is Seattle didnt do enough to win the game and the Steelers made a few more plays then Seattle. And dont give me the call or calls changed the game. The Steelers deserved it. People will keep making excuses for everything. Just another hater.

  50. rushbacker says: Oct 22, 2011 11:59 PM

    Dude’s had a great run, but it’s obviously time to hang ‘em up.

  51. bigblaw says: Oct 23, 2011 12:26 AM

    Ps Reed has been in league longer than Troy so Tackles will be up there Forgot to say Reed is older but you should of known

  52. johnnyglutes says: Oct 23, 2011 12:28 AM

    Look at that dude’s forehead. HGH much?

  53. ccoolahan14 says: Oct 23, 2011 12:56 AM

    Ha you mean when Hines Ward is so scared to hit Reed when Reed is looking that he waits till after the play and until he is absolutely sure that Ed isn’t looking to hit him? I think WE ALL SAW in week 1 what happens to Hines when he gets hit fairly! HAHA Oh, and don’t think we forgot what happens when Troy goes 1 on 1 with 5’8″ Ray Rice hahaha HE GETS RAN OVER as he gives up YET ANOTHER TD because he can’t tackle! Oh, and don’t forget what happens when Troy tries to take on a Domata Peko one on one in the whole! He gets run over AGAIN as he gives up YET ANOTHER TD! Oh, and don’t forget what happens when Troy goes one on one with Cedric Benson, he gets RUN OVER as he loses his helmet and LITERALLY gets KNOCKED OUT!! He started running off the field without his helmet hahaha! So your example is a guy who has to hit Reed when he’s not looking because he is literally that scared of hitting him when he is looking, and I provide THREE examples of Troy getting absolutely RUN OVER head on while looking. Brainwashed idiots lose again.

  54. bostonbias says: Oct 23, 2011 1:33 AM

    ccoolahan14 How old are you? If you are under 20 I will just try to excuse your ignorance as just being young. I think if you would talk to expects that know football they would clearly have Troy as one of the better def players in the NFL.

  55. mulie63 says: Oct 23, 2011 7:44 AM

    Deb,
    I agree 100%. This from a Texans Fan, a truly great defensive end that should have been recognized more. Much luck to Aaron and his family.

  56. bigblaw says: Oct 23, 2011 7:44 AM

    I think he is 20. Those ex: are what happens when a man steps up reed would NEVER stick his head in there. And ward never looked the other way check out you tube dude. Reed layed out. Did ward ever get layed out ? Absolutely. Just like Troy has Just shows they mix it up. Reed looks to avoid contact in his last year

  57. Steeler's Will says: Oct 23, 2011 8:20 AM

    The guy had a nice career with the Steelers. He was dependable for many years before the injuries turned up and seemed to be a respected vet. He has a sick child as well, perhaps retirement SHOULD be considered.

  58. quittsburghstoolers says: Oct 23, 2011 8:22 AM

    A foot injury? Is that all? HA!

    I find it odd that this “tough” DE can’t play through a foot injury while another guy on his own team, namely the “Casanova of the Rest Room” reportedly plays despite having injuries so bad that some consider them almost “life threatening”.

    Of course, the ones who think that about “Pig Pen’s” injuries are the Steeler fans, his press agent, and old “Big Bum” himself…

  59. skolvikesskol says: Oct 23, 2011 10:36 AM

    Undertated = really nice guy we all liked, but not that good

  60. CKL says: Oct 23, 2011 10:40 AM

    flakazoid says: Oct 22, 2011 4:11 PM

    ccoolahan14 says:Oct 22, 2011 3:39 PM

    Belichik has called Aaron Smith the best 3-4 DE he ever coached against. I value his opinion slightly more than yours. Sorry.
    ______________________________________
    Why? You miss no chance to call the Pats cheating scum. So why do you care what some “cheater” thinks of your team’s players? You can’t have it both ways. Oh wait you can because you’re a hypocrite.

    I am sorry to see a great player like Smith go out this way. But the Steelers are almost always prepared for “next man up” and that’s why they are usually one of the top teams in the AFC. Colbert is as underrated as Smith.

  61. holeinone09 says: Oct 23, 2011 10:44 AM

    Aaron was rock solid for years for us. I enjoyed watching him play. Unfortunate about the injuries he has had the past 3 years. At this point and at his age, you have to think he should retire. He should have enough wealth now and just enjoy spending time with his family. Good luck Aaron, whatever you decide.

    The same might be said for Casey?

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