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Steelers release Aaron Smith

March 1, 2012 at 5:40 PM

PITTSBURGH, March 1 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers said Thursday they are releasing defensive end Aaron Smith, one day after they announced the release of star wide receiver Hines Ward.

"No one ever wants to see this day come but we're not focused on that. We're focusing on the last 14 years," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted Smith's agent, Peter Schaffer, as saying.

"Aaron's got nothing but the highest respect for [the Steelers]. He bleeds black and gold."

Smith played 13 seasons for Pittsburgh, and his 46 sacks put him at No. 10 on the team's all-time sacks list.

Smith's release saved the team his $4.5 million salary for the upcoming season, the newspaper said.

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