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Troy Smith cut by Steelers, sees NFL days dwindling

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Monday that they have released veteran quarterback Troy Smith, ending the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner's stint with the team after just six months.

Smith, who turns 28 next month, joined the Steelers in January after spending the 2011 season with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. But Smith's chances of making it to training camp took a significant hit when the Steelers re-signed backup quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch to one-year deals in April.

The Steelers also have Jerrod Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 251-pound quarterback from Texas A&M, on their 90-man roster. Johnson can be a fourth arm for training camp and, unlike Smith, has practice-squad eligibility remaining.

A 2007 fifth-round pick out of Ohio State by the Baltimore Ravens, the 6-foot, 217-pound Smith has completed 51.7 percent of 234 career pass attempts for 1,734 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions. Smith last appeared in the NFL in 2010 when he started six games for the San Francisco 49ers, who had signed him following his release by the Ravens at the end of training camp.

Today's release is another bump in the road for Smith, who bristled at the thought of backing up Joe Flacco and openly lobbied for a trade late in the 2009 season, swapping agents when it didn't happen. Smith had an opportunity to start with the 49ers, but he completed just 50 percent of his pass attempts and had more fumbles (six) than touchdowns (five). Following the lockout, only one team (the Miami Dolphins) kicked Smith's tires before he went the UFL route.

Smith might have to prove himself with an Indoor Football League team before he has another crack at the NFL.

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