The Pittsburgh Steelers said goodbye to four members of their Super Bowl XL Championship team on Friday night in Latrobe, ending an era that will never be forgotten by Steeler Nation. These former pro bowlers, Joey Porter, Willie Parker, Aaron Smith and Marvel Smith, all have different legacies within the organization, but their imprint and what they did for the franchise will never be forgotten as they head toward retirement.During his career, Porter was a boisterous and emotional leader on defense. The one time undersized defensive end in college found his niche in the Steelers defense, eventually becoming one of the most feared pass rushers in the league. More importantly, he was a physical presence that more often than not, provided an intimidation factor that got into the minds of opponents.
Although he was released by the Steelers in 2007, he finished his career by playing for Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, fans will always remember him for his swagger and as a Steeler.
An undrafted rookie free agent, parker burst on the scene in a blur, earning the nickname "Fast Willie" early in his career. Incredibly, his 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL remains the longest running play in the Super Bowl history, a special feat for a player who could not garner playing time in college at North Carolina. Over his career, Parker fought hard and slowly climbed the depth chart; eventually working his way into the starting line-up. In all, he finished his career as the Steelers third all-time leading rusher with 5.378 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Of all these players, Aaron Smith, may have been one of the most unknown dominant defensive ends in the league. The prototypical 3-4 defensive end was a rock, whose workman-like mentality helped him anchor the defense for over a decade. During his career, he helped the team capture two Super Bowl Championships, and more importantly, spent a lot of time teaching the teams young defensive ends how to play the game, with a hard-nosed blue collar attitude that helped make him a fan favorite.
Offensive tackle Marvel Smith rounds out the quartet. Like Aaron Smith, the former second round selection often went unnoticed across the league, yet routinely, anchored the Steelers offensive line for multiple seasons at both right and left tackle.
These four stalwarts joined quarterback Kordell Stewart, defensive lineman Chris Hoke and wide receiver Hines Ward, as former players who came home to end their careers.
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