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Steelers' Aaron Smith still holding out hope that he can play

| Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011

Aaron Smith participated in practice on a limited basis Wednesday and left shortly thereafter for a doctor's appointment.

The veteran defensive end is hoping to get clearance to play in Super Bowl XV before the Steelers leave for Dallas on Monday.

"I think it's feasible, I really do," Smith said of playing for the first time since partially tearing his left triceps in late October. "The longer (this season) has stretched, the better the possibility of me playing has gotten. I would like to have an answer before we leave, but we've gone this long, so we'll see what happens and go from there."

Smith has been practicing on a limited basis for two weeks, and he is realistic about the role he will play even if the 6-foot-5, 298-pounder is well enough to suit up for his third Super Bowl.

Smith said he will spell second-year man Ziggy Hood if he plays against the Green Bay Packers.

Hood has started 12 consecutive games at left defensive end. All four of his sacks this season have come in the Steelers' last six games.

"Ziggy's done a fantastic job and deserves to play all the snaps he can because the guy's carried us to this point," Smith said. "Whatever I can do to help out, a snap here, a snap there, it would be nice to do and go from there."

Smith has been starting since 2000 and is widely considered one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL.

The Steelers kept Smith on the 53-man roster after he got hurt even though there were no guarantees that he would make it back.

That underscored Smith's value to the Steelers, and his teammates have talked about how inspiring it would be if he returns this season.

"I'm kind of speechless when I hear that," Smith said. "I can't help but fantasize about the team and dream about it, just to be out there, being able to be on the field and a part of something special."


4: Players that had at least 500 yards receiving for the Packers this season, a team record

263: Rushing yards by Packers rookie James Starks during the postseason, tops in the NFL

steelers' super bowl takes

"I don't think I would have been shocked, to be honest with you. Knowing the guys in this locker room — we're a tight-knit group — we kind of rally around each other. It's not surprising that we are where we are."

Tight end Heath Miller, on being told at the beginning of the season that the Steelers would advance to Super Bowl XLV despite Ben Roethlisberger missing the first four games

"Thirteen years in this league, five Pro Bowls, an All-Pro selection. If you can just give him that last one thing — a Super Bowl championship behind that long resume — I think that seals it."

Tackle Max Starks, on the offensive line wanting to honor veteran tackle Flozell Adams, a former Dallas player, with a Super Bowl win in the Cowboys' home stadium

"I probably do have the most but I probably don't have the most going. You've got to cut it off at some point. I get in as many people as I can and everybody else will be mad but it is what it is."

Nose tackle Casey Hampton, on ticket requests for the Super Bowl

"I just try to have fun with it and enjoy the circus atmosphere and all the media attention. The key is not to get overwhelmed or let it stress you out. So, I tell the young guys to just enjoy it, because you might never get back. It's going to get crazy, but you have to focus in on the game once we get going there and you have to put everything else behind you."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, on the build-up to the Super Bowl

"I think the thing that's most important is to focus on you're going to be playing a game this week, to really study and get a jumpstart on the team you're playing because when you go to your site, it's not the normal facility or amenities that you're used to so it can get tough to do your same type of research, you're same type of study habits. So it's very good to use this week in a very practical, common sense way this week and get a little head start."

Free safety Ryan Clark, on the significance of this week

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