Smith to Go for Surgery on His Neck; Career Likely Over

Steelers defensive lineman Aaron Smith will need neck surgery, which all but ends his career with the Steelers.

The Steelers put the 35-year-old Smith on injured reserve on Saturday. He hasn’t played since injuring his foot Oct. 2 against Houston and the neck problem was discovered by doctors while he was out with that injury. “He was experiencing some (neck) discomfort and pain,” coach Mike Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday.

“He thought it was a function of playing. Once he hurt his ankle, he thought it would calm down but it didn’t. He consulted with our doctors and let them know what he was experiencing. They evaluated it and looked at it and determined that it needs to be fixed.”

This marks the third straight season that injuries have limited Smith. He played in only 11 games spanning the 2009 and 2010 seasons due to shoulder and triceps injuries and appeared in just four this season. “Just disappointed, that’s about it,” Smith, who accompanied the team to Arizona for Sunday’s 32-20 victory over the Cardinals, told the Post-Gazette when asked about his neck. “You work hard, circumstances change and it doesn’t work out.”

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