One of the cool things, at least I think so, is when a former Steeler player decides to officially end their career as part of the black ‘n gold. Sure it’s just a formality but when you think about the memories those big names have given us over the years, it only seems fitting to see Marvel, Aaron, Fast Willie, and Peazy all say goodbye to the NFL as Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ed Bouchette announced this afternoon via Twitter that all 4 players would be in attendance at the annual Steelers training camp night practice at Latrobe High School. Each will be announced before practice starts, a huge treat for all those in attendance for what is always the most fun time at camp as fan.
It used to be common place to sign players to 1 day contracts to officially go out with the team of their choice, but that’s not the norm anymore because of things such as the salary cap. With many teams riding close to the edge of their spending ability each year, even a 1 day deal could cause issues. GM Kevin Colbert said earlier this year that the Steelers still do not sign 1 day contracts for players because of that very reason. Previously during the offseason, both Hines Ward & Kordell Stewart also retired as a Steelers.
As we begin to see more elder statesmen on the Steelers defense especially, leave the game over the next few seasons, we’ll likely see more of these types of events.
Joey Porter aka Peazy - One of the famous Steeler linebackers that held up the tradition of what it means to play the position in Pittsburgh. Porter was known for not only bone crushing sacks but also one of the best trash talkers of the modern era. When Mike Tomlin took over for the departed Bill Cowher, it was time for Porter to move on and while he finished his career with both the Cardinals and Dolphins, he will always be a Steeler. Peazy invented the patented locker room chant, Who Ride… WE RIDE!!!
Aaron Smith - Defensive Coordinator Dick Lebeau has referred to Smith as unblockable. In his prime, Smith could diagnose an offensive play before the ball was snapped and create headaches for opposing lineman. Smith was your typical “lunch bucket” player; come to work, keep your mouth shut, and perform.. He was the prototypical defensive lineman in a 34 defense; able to hold his ground against any double team and control his gap better than anyone. Even though his last few years in the league were plagued by injuries, he set the standard for today’s 34 lineman.
Marvel Smith: One could argue that since Marvel retired, the Steelers have been searching for a left tackle and never quite found it until recently. Big #77 was drafted in the 2nd round in 2000, playing 8 years before back and neck injuries forced his retirement. At 6’5″ 321 lbs, he had the size and quick feet needed to play the most important position on the offensive line.
Fast Willie Parker: As an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina, Parker made a name for himself learning behind the great Jerome Bettis. Coming out of nowhere seemingly, Parker set a Super Bowl record in Detroit with his 75 yd. touchdown run to help lift the Steelers to their coveted one for the thumb. FWP as we call him, is active on Twitter and is now an assistant coach at West Virginia Weslyan College.
Personally I’m proud of all these guys and happy they are going out as part of the Steeler Nation. While some of them finished up their careers with other teams, there is no doubt that all of them made their name in Pittsburgh.