Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith was officially released last Friday and he took to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Sunday to thank everyone for his time with the Steelers in an ad that he purchased. Ed Bouchette points out that the ad is on Page D-7 and it reads:
Dear Steelers Fans,
As of today, I am no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I leave the field and Steelers with no regrets, and am grateful to have played for such a tremendous organization. I feel truly blessed to have spent my entire professional career in the best town, playing for the most loyal fans who have loved and supported myself and my family.
The last 13 years of our lives have been special because of the people who cheered me on, and I am truly fortunate to have been a part of the Steelers, the City of Pittsburgh and the Steelers Nation. You have opened your arms and your hearts to us as a family and we will never forget that. Your support, enthusiasm, love and dedication are gifts I will carry with me my entire life.
I may no longer be on the Steelers active roster, but I will always be a Steeler and will never forget the people who made it all worthwhile — the fans, the Rooneys, the front office, the equipment guys and trainers, my teammates and family. Thank you for supporting me over the last 13 years, and I hope you will support me in whatever future path life will take me on.
We plan on making Pittsburgh our home and I will endeavor for the rest of my days to find a way to thank each and every one of you personally for all that you have done and meant for me and my family. You cheered for me for 13 years and now I cheer for you for the rest of my life. You will always be in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to have the job of a lifetime. You will always be in my heart.
Your friend always,
Aaron Smith and Family, No. 91
What a great sentiment from a great player and an even greater human being. Smith embodied everything that you hope for in a Steeler player and he left it all out there on the field. While Smith does not mention the word retire, the word is it will happen soon. There has been talk that he will not want any type of press conference and I certainly can respect that if that indeed is his choice. His playing days might be over, but his time in the black and the gold will never be forgotten.
So if you read this Aaron, it was our pleasure watching you play for 13 years and we all wish you and your family nothing but the best as you move on to the next chapter in your life.
If you have yet to see the NFL Films feature on Smith, make sure you watch it here: Aaron Smith: Emerging from the shadows