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Steelers' Aaron Smith Not Ready For Retirement

Most fans assumed that when veteran Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith went down with a season-ending neck injury a couple months ago, his career was over. But the 35-year-old Smith says that might not be the case.

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"I drive down the road and fantasize about playing," Smith said Thursday before working out at the Steelers' practice facility. "Even when I'm done playing, I think I'll still fantasize about competing. I watch games now and think what I would do in that situation."

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My guess is that's a sentiment a lot of former players can relate to. Realistically, though, the chances of a return to the Steelers seem remote. Smith's last several years have seen one season-ending injury after another, and with the drafting of Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward in the first round in the past few seasons, the Steelers have been planning for his departure. (Even Smith says the Steelers "won't miss a beat" once the "so-called old guys" - himself and Brett Keisel - are gone.) Smith says he doesn't want to play anywhere else, but the Steelers aren't usually that sentimental about holding onto former stars.

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For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.