Scott Brown reports on Twitter this morning that Pittsburgh Steelers veteran defensive end Aaron Smith told reporters this morning that he is completely healthy following the spinal-fusion surgery that he had back in November and that he could play tomorrow if he could. According to Brown he also said that he will decide after the season whether or not he will return in 2012 for his 14th season. He also added that if he indeed does return, it would only be with Steelers as he can\’t see himself playing anywhere else, and that if were to do that, it would “taint” his career.
Smith came into the 2011 season on the final year of his contract but he restructured it back in October to free the Steelers up some cap space. In the restructure the Steelers added on another year to his contract, so he will be under contract for 2012 should he decide to return.
The Steelers placed Smith on injured reserve late in October following his neck surgery. The neck reportedly bothered him as far back as Super Bowl XLIII, but he thought it was just the result of years playing. An MRI on his neck showed that he needed cervical fusion surgery, which required doctors to fuse discs together with steel plates by going through the front part of his neck. Smith also missed time early in the season with a foot injury and he also missed most of the 2010 after he tore his triceps against the Miami Dolphins.