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2011 Super Bowl: Steelers' Aaron Smith Likely Out, Hines Ward To Retire?

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith isn't likely to play in Super Bowl XLV. Smith ruptured his left triceps tendon in October against the Dolphins. Rather than place Smith on injured reserve, the Steelers hoped that Smith would be able to return for the playoffs. Unfortunately for Smith and the Steelers, and fortunately for everybody who hates the Steelers, the tendon never healed fully and it doesn't look like Smith will be ready to play in the Super Bowl.

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On the other side of the ball for Pittsburgh, there's some speculation that Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward might retire if the Steelers win Super Bowl XLV. Ward apparently told a high school in April that if he won a third Super Bowl, he'd retire.

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Said Ward:

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"I know Jerome went out on top and stuff like that," Ward said. "I really haven't thought about it. I just want to be singly focused on winning this ballgame and figure out what is going to happen after that."

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Here's hoping that the Steelers don't win the Super Bowl so Ward doesn't have a difficult decision to make. 

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.