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View Full Version : Steelers Aaron Smith can only watch & wonder


tony hipchest
01-05-2012, 08:23 PM
http://burgh.us/bp5

By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com Timesonline.com | 0 comments

PITTSBURGH -- After a strenuous workout in the weight room, Aaron Smith looked like he's ready to help the Steelers out in Denver on Sunday. He may be 35, but he's in excellent shape right now.

Unfortunately, he knows he may never play again.

For the third straight year, major injuries that required corrective surgery have shut Smith down

In 2009, his season ended after five games due to a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder.

In 2010, he played six games before suffering a torn triceps.

This year, he played only four games before a neck injury put him on injured reserve.

Of the Steelers' past 48 regular-season games, Smith has missed 33 of them.

He even missed five games in 2007 with knee injuries.

During the heyday of his 13-year run with the Steelers, Smith was regarded as one of the NFL's most underrated defensive ends. He went years without missing a game or a practice. Although he seldom received national acclaim, he was regarded by his coaches and teammates as a true warrior.

In recent years, however, it's been difficult for Smith to watch so many games from the sidelines.

"It's the worst thing," he said after his Thursday morning workout. "Watching a game for me is like taking a recovering alcoholic to a bar. How much do you think they enjoy being in that bar? Everyone else is partying and enjoying themselves and this guy is miserable.

"I love playing. I love competing. I love the game of football. It's painful to stand on the sidelines and watch. If and when I do decide I'm done, it may be awhile before I watch football."

It was brutally painful for Smith last year because coach Mike Tomlin never put him on the season-ending injured reserve list. So respected by everyone in the franchise, the Steelers kept Smith on the active roster the entire season in hopes he'd return for the playoffs.

The Steelers even kept Smith on the roster throughout the playoffs in hopes that he might be able to play in Super Bowl XLV against Green Bay. But that never happened.

"I still fantasize about it," Smith said. "I drive down the road and fantasize about playing. I don't think it will ever stop. Even when I'm done playing, I think I'll still fantasize about competing. I watch games now and think what I would do in that situation or how I would handle this."

Obviously, Smith would love to play Sunday in Denver. A native of nearby Colorado Springs -- he attended Northern Colorado University in Greeley --- Smith was never a fan of the Broncos though.

"I was a Broncos hater," he said. "My family loved the Broncos. I guess I was the jerk kid that always wanted to root against everybody, like a kid here (in Pittsburgh) rooting for the Ravens."

Smith has been part of many memorable wins during his time with the Steelers. He started on the two most recent Super Bowl championship teams (2005 and 2008). One of his favorite moments was the '05 AFC Championship Game in Denver, a 34-17 Steelers victory.

"I remember I wanted to win that game more than anything, especially being from there," he said. "I remember thinking, ‘If we lose this, I can't come back home.'"

Home these days for Smith is Pittsburgh. He sold his house in Colorado, which was located near the Broncos' practice facility, several years ago. All five of his children were born in Pittsburgh. When he retires, he and his family will remain in western Pa.

Smith said that he has yet to decide if he'll try to play again next year. He'll be 36 in April and he's not sure if his body can withstand a 14th season.

Sometime during the off-season, he and his wife will sit down and make that decision. He's under contract for the 2012 season and is due to make $4.5 million in base salary. But now that Ziggy Hood, a first-round pick in the 2009 draft, is firmly entrenched at Smith's customary spot at left defensive end, Smith would have to take a significant pay cut to return.

Not that money is an issue. In 2007, he signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract that included an $8 million signing bonus.

"The money is just kind of useless at this point," he said. "I mean, how much is enough?"

All that would drive Smith back for one more year are the competitive fires that still burn inside him. That's why he still frequents the weight room.



"This is all I know," he said. "I'm afraid if I stop, what's going to happen?"



i think the part about him being due 4.5 mil for next year is incorrect. he restructured and signed and extension for salary cap relief. either that or he essentially "played" for beans this season, giving a substantially biger "discount".

steeltheone
01-05-2012, 08:32 PM
Retire already..Geez

ETL
01-05-2012, 09:29 PM
He should be hired as a defensive assistant

MasterOfPuppets
01-05-2012, 09:50 PM
i think the part about him being due 4.5 mil for next year is incorrect. he restructured and signed and extension for salary cap relief. either that or he essentially "played" for beans this season, giving a substantially biger "discount".
http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/10/steelers-extend-restructure-aaron-smith-contract-to-free-up-cap-room/

finesward
01-05-2012, 09:57 PM
Retire already..Geez

lol how did I know you would be the first to comment on this thread?? :blah: you are to aaron smith what danrooney is to hines ward... maybe you should hang it up along with aaron, i think that horse is dead now steel :deadhorse: The guy is a 13 year vet playing for one team, how dare they write an article about how he feels now his career is at an end:coffee:

tony hipchest
01-05-2012, 10:23 PM
http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/10/steelers-extend-restructure-aaron-smith-contract-to-free-up-cap-room/

i briefely shared a few comments with dave and also jim wexell via twitter when this deal went down. its still pretty much a mystery exactly how the deal is structured and how much money is saved when.

since salary capology is such a shady gray area alot is left to interpretation. it is my guestimation that if we wanna keep him around next season, it will only cost us the vet minimum, hense the extremely low amount of "dead money" if he is cut.

steeltheone
01-05-2012, 11:18 PM
lol how did I know you would be the first to comment on this thread?? :blah: you are to aaron smith what danrooney is to hines ward... maybe you should hang it up along with aaron, i think that horse is dead now steel :deadhorse: The guy is a 13 year vet playing for one team, how dare they write an article about how he feels now his career is at an end:coffee:

If he was announcing it was coming to an end i can completely understand. But he is not. He is still kicking around possibly playing when he has shown his ability is not NFL worthy.

Thanks for your service but we need that money for younger players.It's become about him not the team.

steeltheone
01-05-2012, 11:20 PM
i briefely shared a few comments with dave and also jim wexell via twitter when this deal went down. its still pretty much a mystery exactly how the deal is structured and how much money is saved when.

since salary capology is such a shady gray area alot is left to interpretation. it is my guestimation that if we wanna keep him around next season, it will only cost us the vet minimum, hense the extremely low amount of "dead money" if he is cut.

That would be fine, but he won't sit. Tomlin will have him in there in place of players that need to be in there. ( Hood, Heywood)

MasterOfPuppets
01-05-2012, 11:37 PM
i briefely shared a few comments with dave and also jim wexell via twitter when this deal went down. its still pretty much a mystery exactly how the deal is structured and how much money is saved when.

since salary capology is such a shady gray area alot is left to interpretation. it is my guestimation that if we wanna keep him around next season, it will only cost us the vet minimum, hense the extremely low amount of "dead money" if he is cut.
smith was to be paid a base salary 0f 4.5 mill and a bonus of 1.6 mill for 2011
4.5 + 1.6 = 6.1 mill cap charge
they lowered his 4.5 mill base by 1.75 mill by making it guaranteed money
now its
2.75 base + 1.6 + .875 = 5.2 mill cap charge for 2011
which allows them to spread the 1.75 out over the length of the contract (now 2 years ). thus the extra year and 875 k due next year. he has no base salary next year. its all guaranteed money.
they neither gain or lose money unless they cut smith...they can retain him next year for 875k or cut him for 875k . basically its like smith just gave them an extra year to pay him 875k of the money they owe him. ..guess it all boils down to if they can justify giving him a roster spot.

tony hipchest
01-05-2012, 11:39 PM
Thanks for your service but we need that money for younger players.It's become about him not the team.oh boy! we could afford 2 bust scrubs like thad gibson for that much! :cheer: and what exactly do you know about the "team" where you can say its become all about him? while ignorant fans could care less, its "the team" that has wanted him to stay.

That would be fine, but he won't sit. Tomlin will have him in there in place of players that need to be in there. ( Hood, Heywood):blah:

:jerkit:

just like hines, mcfadden, kemoeatu, and foote, are pushing younger, more talented players to the bench.

get real, man!

tony hipchest
01-06-2012, 12:19 AM
Smith unsure of future
Smith, at 282 pounds, 20 off his playing weight, spent some time in the locker room Thursday as he steps up his workout routine, although he is not sure if he will try to return to play or to retire.

Smith turns 36 in April and should have his decision by then. His 13th season was cut short again after four games because of a neck injury that required surgery in November. He said doctors gave him the green light to play football again, but he will talk it over with the Steelers and his family in a few months.

One thing he won't do is play or live elsewhere.

"Go someplace else? That would just change the whole idea of being a Steeler," Smith said. "I live here. This is my home. Even when I'm done, this will be my home. I love this town. I love the people and the city. All my kids have been born here. The church is here, the school is here. All their friends are here. I've been here really all my adult life."


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12006/1201672-66-0.stm?cmpid=steelers.xml&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz1iek3heZU

what a selfish bastard. its all "I....I...I...Me..Me...Me..My...My...My...."

finesward
01-06-2012, 05:43 AM
what steel oft forgets is those "younger guys" are the ones who want aaron to be on the team. he's been calling for aarons head for a couple years now. i love it when fan's think they know how to handle personnel moves more than the people who actually get PAID to do so... if dan and steel were in charge farrior, aaron, hines , and others would all of been gone long ago...but alas they aren't...and here we are at 12-4 AGAIN going into the playoffs :noidea:

finesward
01-06-2012, 05:56 AM
Reminds me, I hope they let Mendy go this year to give the young kid, Chad Spann, a chance to play :chuckle:

theplatypus
01-06-2012, 06:20 AM
That would be fine, but he won't sit. Tomlin will have him in there in place of players that need to be in there. ( Hood, Heywood)


Tomlin would start the player that's playing the best football. The last we saw a healthy Smith was still a better football player than Hood.

Whodis
01-06-2012, 06:49 AM
what a selfish bastard. its all "I....I...I...Me..Me...Me..My...My...My...."

You hit it right on the head... Aaron Smith has always been so selfish and always worried about his own stats before what could be best for the team.

We are so loaded at defensive line it only makes sense to run Smith out of town...

I have more respect for someone telling Hines to step aside, then I do Smith. No one is knocking down the door at DE to push him off the roster.

soulkitchen
01-06-2012, 08:13 AM
To run him off the team would be the wrong idea. With his contract situation it's a no-brainer to keep him and add him into the rotation on the DL. He most likely won't be the starter baring injury to Hood or Kiesel, but he will see 20 or so snaps a game. This will only make our DL better next year.

Now if our #1 or #2 is a DL then the issue will need to be revisited as the DL will become crowded with Hood, Heyward, Kiesel, Hampton, McClendon. There is really only room for one more (yes, I have Hoke retiring).

Rick5895
01-06-2012, 08:32 AM
A Problem with this forum is the amount of haters wanting to bash veteran players who have bled black and gold for years. Farrior , Ward, Smith Hampton et al deserve our our respect and gratitude because it was these guys who helped us to our last 2 super wins , it was these guys who continued the tradition of great Steeler football, if not for these guys there would have no superbowl trips the last few years.
To those people who want to throw these GREAT STEELERS out like they were yesterdays garbage, you all need to take a step back and be thankful you're all fans of the greatest sports franchise. The reason we are so great is we respect our players and vets and don't treat them like they are garbage.
I, for one, would hate to see any of these great players end thier careers like Franco or Webby! Something I am sure the Rooneys have learned from as well.

DanRooney
01-06-2012, 09:45 AM
what steel oft forgets is those "younger guys" are the ones who want aaron to be on the team. he's been calling for aarons head for a couple years now. i love it when fan's think they know how to handle personnel moves more than the people who actually get PAID to do so... if dan and steel were in charge farrior, aaron, hines , and others would all of been gone long ago...but alas they aren't...and here we are at 12-4 AGAIN going into the playoffs :noidea:

And if you were in charge, Hines and Aaron Smith would be starting. Probably Foote too. Randle El would still be here because he was a good locker room guy.

But I guess you're right. They're all still here. Hines plays about 8 snaps a game, 6 of them are running plays. And Aaron Smith is at home. Very key contributors to being 12-4.

QCbeauBlak
01-06-2012, 09:46 AM
More so than Hines, Aaron Smith has been one of my favorite Steelers in my lifetime. This was a tough article to read. I hate that he feels this way but I guess I can understand. He didn't get to go out like he wanted being injured 4 consecutive years. In my mind, I have already moved on from him a couple of years ago. I'm with ETL though, I hope he can coach one day for this franchise. But no way can we bring him back as a player. He had a great, great career and I hope he leaves it at that.

finesward
01-06-2012, 10:21 AM
And if you were in charge, Hines and Aaron Smith would be starting. Probably Foote too. Randle El would still be here because he was a good locker room guy.

But I guess you're right. They're all still here. Hines plays about 8 snaps a game, 6 of them are running plays. And Aaron Smith is at home. Very key contributors to being 12-4.

Here's where we differ : I don't pretend like I am in charge. Your so butthurt because foote is here and not thad...it doesnt make foote a bad player. Just bc hines role is reduced doesn't make him a bad player. Ur too black and white to run a real football team. Thank god for fantasy football!

Steelerfreak58
01-06-2012, 10:42 AM
Offer him league minimum and tell him he is going to have to work for his spot see how it goes. Give him and honest and critical eye during training camp. He would make a great back up for a year or two to give the younger ends breathers and his game knowledge and building up the younger guys is invaluable.

If he has rehabbed and can stay healthy the dude is one of the best on the field.

TRH
01-06-2012, 10:45 AM
Retire already..Geez

Hell, why would he retire? We keep giving him money.
We should cut him if he's not going to be used here.

Fire Arians
01-06-2012, 11:01 AM
even before his injury this year, he was playing poorly. aaron has been great for us, but it's time to hang it up.

with hood, heyward, and keisel, i don't see how smith can be here next year.

steeltheone
01-06-2012, 11:25 AM
Tomlin would start the player that's playing the best football. The last we saw a healthy Smith was still a better football player than Hood.

Umm Wrong...The Defense had the best stats last year of any in recent memory. This year Smith was getting pushed all over the field before his injury, but he still started.

DanRooney
01-06-2012, 11:27 AM
lmao@Smith being a better player than Hood right now. Good lord the people on this board.