According to Pittsburgh Post Gazette beat writer Ed Bouchette, the releases of veteran wide receiver Hines Ward, defensive end Aaron Smith, linebacker James Farrior and guard Chris Kemoeatu were made official last Friday at 4 p.m. There had been some uncertainty of when it would be official, but now we know it is. That of course means that all four were free at that time to start negotiating with other teams, and as Bouchette reports, it appears that Kemoeatu and his agent Ken Vierra are already talking to a few teams.
Bouchette also said that Smith is expected to retire and that is not surprising at all considering that there were rumors that he failed his exit physical. It is also expected that both Ward and Farrior will also unsurprisingly try to latch on elsewhere with another team, with Farrior likely to get the most attention of the two.
Kemoeatu has a history now with a balky, arthritic type knee that caused him to miss 3 games last season as a result. He had started training camp last season with the Steelers on the ACTIVE PUP list and seemed hampered by the knee several times throughout the season when he did suit up. He was released with two years left on his contract as the Steelers will look to the draft to find their future left guard. Both Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster are set to be restricted free agents and should be tendered as such any day now.