When the Steelers decided to keep DE Aaron Smith and his large salary, I was one of the most vocal about my displeasure in the move. That's a lot of money to pay a guy coming off a couple of injury ridden seasons. He had played a total of 11 games out of a possible 35 and he was far past the right side of 30 years old. Smith got off to a bumpy start to his 2011 campaign, which many thought would be his last as a pro football player. However, a few games in he looked to have a bit of his spark back and had some nice plays against the run. Unfortunately, Aaron injured his foot in the Houston game and it appeared the writing was on the wall. Just this morning the Steelers put him on the IR and he will be lost for the year and probably done for his career.
This is an unfortunate end of a career for a guy who was a monster at the position for about a decade. Aaron always flew under the radar, because of the nature of his position. If he is playing well you should not even notice he is there. And you mostly never knew Smith was there. Because he never got the "sexy" stats, he only went to one Pro-Bowl in 2004 despite his dominance at the position. He was constantly working two blockers and freeing things up for ILBs to make plays. Thanks for everything Aaron. We will miss you.
Smith finishes his career with 152 starts, 332 tackles, 44 sacks, 22 pass deflections, 7 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. Those numbers probably will not be enough to earn him a ticket to Canton.