Agent says Steelers parting ways with DE Smith
By Scott Brown
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Steelers have informed Aaron Smith that he will be released, making the veteran defensive end the second franchise great that the team has cut ties with in as many days.
Smith played 13 seasons for the Steelers and established himself as perhaps the standard for 3-4 defensive ends before injuries conspired against him. Smith suffered season-ending injuries four of the last five years.
He played four games in 2011 before a neck injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Stout against the run, Smith is also 10th on the Steelers' all-time sacks list with 46.
"No one ever wants to see this day come but we're not focused on that. We're focusing on the last 14 years," said Peter Schaffer, Smith's agent. "Aaron's got nothing but the highest respect for (the Steelers). He bleeds black and gold."
Smith had been set to make $2.9 million this season, and his release clears $2.1 million in salary cap money.
The Steelers saved around $3 million Wednesday when they released veteran wide receiver Hines Ward. Ward was drafted a year before the Steelers selected Smith, who played for Division II Northern Colorado, in the fourth round of the 1999 draft Unlike Ward who hopes to play elsewhere next season, Smith is likely to call it a career.
He said in December that he couldn't see himself playing for a team other than the Steelers.
Schaffer said he has not discussed the future with Smith.
"We're celebrating the great career of a great person," he said.
Scott Brown can be reached at email@example.com
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