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Old 05-03-2009, 12:30 PM   #1
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Default Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia
Buzz up!
By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 3, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_623409.html#

The life of Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith took a terrifying turn last October when his 4-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia.

Elijah Smith, however, is doing well and continues to triumph over the disease, his father said Saturday.

"You wouldn't know he had leukemia if you talked to him," said Smith, who called home to check on his son in between the two practices the Steelers held Saturday. "He's a cheerful, happy boy. If he wasn't bald you probably wouldn't even know he's in chemo."

Elijah Smith, who is now 5, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is cancer of the white blood cells.

He did well enough in early treatments that doctors allowed him to travel to Tampa with the rest of the Smith family in February to watch his father play in the Super Bowl.

Smith said Elijah has made "unbelievable" progress since that point.

Smith didn't miss a game last season despite all that happened, and he was a finalist for the 2008 George S. Halas Courage Award. The award is given by the Pro Football Writers Association to a coach or player that performed well on the field after overcoming adversity off it.

"We've been very blessed with how things have gone," Smith said, "because there's families that have had a much harder time to this point."

Talent pool


The piece of paper that is taped to a cooler in the Steelers' locker room tracks wins and losses. The marks on it are a clear indication the players are getting plenty of use out of the new pool table in the team's South Side facility.

The Steelers had a pool table in their locker room when they practiced at the University of South Florida prior to Super Bowl XLIII.

"Coach (Mike Tomlin) liked the idea, so he added it to our players' lounge," cornerback Deshea Townsend said.

Townsend said playing pool is another way for the players to compete against one another as well as develop camaraderie.

"It keeps the guys together," he said. "It kind of takes your mind off football a little bit, but it builds team type of things that you never think about."

The Steelers could be adding another diversion to their locker room.

"I think they're getting a ping pong table here too," right tackle Willie Colon said, "so you're all going to be walking around stuff."

Minicamp concludes today

The Steelers hold their fifth and final minicamp practice this morning. It starts at 11:25 a.m., and no time was given for its conclusion.

Tomlin could let the players go early if he is pleased with what he saw on the first two days of minicamp.

One thing Tomlin did make clear about minicamp: It won't have much of an effect on players' evaluations because the Steelers didn't practice in full pads.

"I don't gauge them because it's not football," Tomlin said of the practices. "It's teaching."

(Such good news about Elijah. I hope the young lad continues his progress. - mesa)
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Excellent news about Elijah. Smith is an absolute rock at his position. Just an unbelievable player and human being. So glad to hear about his son.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

I am so happy Elijah is doing well! That is better news than anything else that could have possibly come out of minicamp!
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Very great news. I'm so happy that Elijah is getting better.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Great news! Fighters must run in the family.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

YAY
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Now this is the best news ever..! Keep up the fight, little guy! All of your Steelers aunties and uncles are praying for you!
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

The whole family is rock solid. The little guy will win this, no problem. Like father, like son.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Fantastic news.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Defensive end Smith's son winning battle with leukemia

Good to hear the news about Elijha.
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