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Steelers DE Smith scheduled for midweek MRI on triceps injury

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith, out since Week 7 with a triceps injury, will have an MRI on Tuesday or Wednesday to see if he can play in this weekend's Super Bowl, according to a league source.

The Steelers are holding out hope that Smith can play, although he acknowledged to the *Pittsburgh Tribune-Review* that he might have to watch Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers from the sideline.

"I've come to grips with it," said Smith, who has been limited in practice over the past three weeks. "I'm holding out hope, but that's a reality I've had to deal with (for) months. I've tried optimism, I've tried pessimism. I've tried being happy. I'm just day to day. If I get an opportunity to (play), it will be a blessing.

"Why suit me up and not play when someone else can suit up and help the team win? I think it has to be, 'Can I be productive? Can I contribute?'"

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazettecited sources Monday in reporting that Smith definitely won't play.

Teammates have praised Smith's dedication during his rehabilitation process, with linebacker James Farrior calling the lineman a "pro's pro."

"He does everything the right way," Farrior told the Tribune-Review. "He doesn't talk a lot of trash. He just goes about his business. Whenever he talks, you know he means it."

Smith, one of the NFL's elite 3-4 defensive ends, acknowledged to the newspaper that his long, often lonely, rehab process has taken a toll on him.

"You feel detached from the team sometimes," Smith said. "Yet to have the guys embrace you, speak highly of you, I can't say enough. I've been with these guys through the best and worst of times in my life.

"I'm not saying I'm absolutely miserable, but from a professional standpoint, it's been hard."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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