Steelers 2006 third-round pick Anthony Smith looked to be emerging as Pittsburgh’s free safety of the future when he made 14 starts his first two seasons, collecting 97 tackles and intercepting four passes during that span. But Smith’s career took a nosedive after he unsuccessfully guaranteed a December 2007 win over the 12-0 New England Patriots.
The Patriots torched the Steelers’ secondary in a 34-13 win, as quarterback Tom Brady passed for four touchdowns and 399 yards. And Smith’s career never recovered.
Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Saturday that Anthony Smith is now retiring from football, after bouncing between five teams the past four years. Smith’s career ends after six seasons and 76 games played, with 19 starts. He is 28 years old.
Smith was once a promising NFL safety who appeared destined to become Troy Polamalu’s long-term running mate in the back end of Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense. Unfortunately, the majority of those who remember Smith’s career will think of his failed guarantee and subsequent torching by Brady.
And it’s fair to wonder whether, had Smith bit his tongue, things might have worked out for him much differently.