The Steelers today suffered a big blow, as they placed defensive end Aaron Smith on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending the 11-year veteran’s season. Smith compiled two sacks in five games and he also blocked a field goal attempt during Pittsburgh’s season-opening win over Tennessee. He’s a big part of the teams defensive line, and now it’ll be up to first-round draft choice Evander “Ziggy” Hood to step in for Smith.
The 33-year-old Smith has recorded 44 sacks and 385 tackles in 150 career games with the Steelers, who selected him in the fourth round of the 1999 draft. Along with Hood, the Steelers may take a long look at Panthers rookie defensive end Ra’shon Harris, who was inked from their practice squad to replace Smith on the active roster.
Hood was effective at points of the preseason, but to step up and be the player Smith was is asking a lot. Smith also missed the late portion of the 2007 season, and the defense went in the tank, more so against the run. He’ll be missed on a defense that could get safety Troy Polamalu back this week vs the Browns.