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Steelers to release Farrior, Smith

The dominoes continued to fall in Pittsburgh on Friday, with the Steelers announcing their plans to release veteran linebacker James Farrior and defensive end Aaron Smith.

The Steelers have been busy cleaning house since Wednesday, when they announced that they'll be releasing wide receiver Hines Ward.

Farrior joined the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent in 2002 and quickly became a leader on the field and in the locker room. The Virginia product started 153 regular-games for the Steelers, including 14 last season.

"James was named one of our captains each of the past eight years and that speaks volumes to what he has meant to so many great defenses," Steelers president Art Rooney II said on the team's website. "He has been a leader for our defense on the field and an ambassador for the Steelers in the community. We appreciate everything James has done and truly wish him nothing but the best."

Originally selected by the Jets with the eighth overall pick of the 1997 draft, Farrior spent the first five seasons of his career with New York.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection had been scheduled to make around $2.8 million in 2012.

Smith played 13 seasons for the Steelers, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 1999 draft. He played in every Steelers game at left defensive end from 2000 through 2006.

The 35-year-old Smith had established himself as one of the best defensive ends in the league before injuries conspired against him. The Northern Colorado product has been limited to a combined 15 games over the last three seasons.

In 160 career games with the Steelers, Smith had 408 tackles, 44 sacks and one interception. He won two Super Bowl titles with Pittsburgh.

"Aaron has been a staple on our defense since he became a starter in 2000 and has helped us rank among the league's top defenses ever since," Rooney said. "He has done so much for the Steelers on and off the field, and he has been one of our veteran leaders in our locker room. We appreciate everything that he has done for our team and the Pittsburgh community, and we will always hold him in high regard for helping us to so much success over his 13 years with the team."

Smith had been set to make $4.5 million this season.