The End of Aaron Smith?

Aaron Smith #91

Could this be the end of the line for Aaron Smith?  He’s 34 years old and tore the triceps on his left arm this week against the Miami Dolphins.  This makes for the third arm injury in the last four seasons.  Can a player his age come back AGAIN from such a thing?

He has meant so much to this defense.  The stats show that he is just as valuable to the team as Troy Polamalu when it comes to winning games.  When he is in the game, consider the opposing team’s running game “stuffed.”  This frees the rest of the defense to focus on other parts of the game.

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke down his importance like this:

In 2007, his right biceps muscle was torn in December. The team went 1-2 down the stretch and lost its wild-card playoff game to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last season, his right rotator cuff was torn in October. The team went 6-5 without him and missed the playoffs.

This is not a good trend.

By the way, the Steelers won the Super Bowl in ’08 when Smith stayed healthy and played in every game.

Smith has been a stalwart of the Steelers defensive line since he came into the league back in 1999 as a 4th round pick.  He is wildly known around the league as one of the most underrated players to play defense, but few realize his place in Steelers history.  He is one of the best defensive linemen the Steelers have EVER had… and that’s saying a lot!

The Steelers have boasted Ernie Stautner“Mean” Joe Green, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight “Mad Dog” White and Casey Hampton. Smith ranks right up there on that impressive list.

Cook closed his article with fitting words:

How do you replace a guy who’s nearly irreplaceable?

“Absolutely these guys can do it,” Smith said. “Look at the talent in here.”

So I did.

I took a good, long look around the room.

I saw a lot of great players.

But I didn’t see another Aaron Smith.

The Steelers definitely lost more than they won on this bittersweet October day.

If this injury causes Smith to retire, it will be an inglorious end to an otherwise illustrious career.  I wish Smith well in his healing process and hope to see him in a Steelers uniform again.

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