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Another season ends with Steelers DE Smith on injured reserve

You've got to feel for Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith.

On Saturday, for the third straight season, the team announced that Smith has been placed on injured reserve. It's also the fourth time in the last five years that Smith has ended the season on IR.

Smith was already ruled out for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals after missing the two previous games with a foot injury. Ziggy Hood will make his third straight start at left end, and rookie defensive lineman Corbin Bryant has been signed off the practice squad to take Smith's place on the 53-man roster.

Smith, 35, has played in just 15 games during the last three seasons because of various injuries. He hasn't lasted past six games into any season during that span. It's been a disheartening decline for Smith, who, prior to 2007, had played in all 16 games and started all but two of them for seven straight seasons.

The move brings an abrupt end to Smith's 13th NFL season, and one has to wonder, given his injury history, whether this might be the end of the road for a player who has been perhaps the most valuable piece of the Steelers' defense next to Troy Polamalu.

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