LATROBE, PA - JULY 29: A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet sits on the practice field during training camp on July 29, 2011 at St Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Remember the time James Hetfield of Metallica joined Alice In Chains on stage in San Francisco?
That's what Steelers fans who attended Friday evening's practice session got as RB Willie Parker, LT Marvel Smith, DE Aaron Smith and OLB Joey Porter - all Steelers Super Bowl players - all officially retired as Pittsburgh Steelers.
And it just doesn't get more right than that.
Smith is perhaps the least known, but is still one of the better linemen the Steelers have ever seen. A second round pick out of Arizona State in 2000, Smith won two Super Bowls with the Steelers, despite a nagging back injury that would eventually end his career prevented him from playing in Super Bowl XLIII.
Parker holds several club rushing records, and finished his career third all-time in yardage with 5,378. Easily, "Fast" Willie is best known for his 75-yard touchdown run against Seattle in Super Bowl XL, a Super Bowl record. Parker, undrafted out of the University of North Carolina, was the team's MVP in 2007, and was named to the All Pro team in 2007.
Smith, regarded by some as the best 3-4 defensive end of the era, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Steelers in 1999 out of the University of Northern Colorado. A consummate professional, Smith will be remembered as one of the most beloved and endearing players in franchise history. He was released this offseason after injuries derailed a brilliant if soft-spoken career. He's a special player to me.
The opposite of soft-spoken, Porter was the mouthpiece of Big Nasty D, a nickname for the part of the Steelers' defensive legacy that saw Porter roaming opposing warm-up line, abs exposed, barking at any and all who dared oppose him. J-Peezy, a member of the Steelers' all-time team as well as the NFL's All Decade team for the 2000s, was the emotional leader of the Steelers at the start of what's become a dynasty.
Words cannot express how jealous I am I cannot attend practice tonight. I would openly weep if I was, though.
We'll have plenty more on this tonight and Saturday, so stay tuned.