By Teresa Varley
Defensive end Aaron Smith surprised many of his teammates when he was in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Giants.
Smith had missed practice all week because of personal reasons and many of his teammates didn't expect him to be available on game day.
"It was amazing," cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "I didn't even know he was playing until he got here."
Smith's teammates have been supportive of him during the tough time, which he has chosen to not talk about and keep private for now.
"If he wouldn't have been out there, no one would have cared," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "He's got a bigger battle to fight, and our hearts and prayers should go out to him and his family."
Many of Smith's teammates were emotional about his presence on the field and disappointed they didn't pull out a win for him.
"I love the guy so much," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "He's the best. If I could be like him and live my life like he lives his, I'd die a happy man. I'm just so thankful he's in my life."
You can't blame a guy for trying and there wasn't anyone in the Steelers locker room after the loss to the Giants pinning the blame on linebacker James Harrison.
Harrison was called into emergency service as the long snapper after Greg Warren suffered a torn ACL in the third quarter.
Harrison had just one snap, which went sailing over the head of punter Mitch Berger and through the end zone for a safety which tied the game at 14-14.
"I take my hat off to James Harrison for stepping up and volunteering and being pumped about snapping that football," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "We just weren't able to get it done. That was the first game that I have been involved in that we didn't have a snapper."
This was a new experience for Harrison.
"It's the first time I've had to snap in the game," said Harrison. "Plus, my whole feeling was if I shoot it over his head, it is two points, we're tied 14-14, we still have a chance to fight."
When the Giants got the ball on the free kick Manning was able to engineer a drive that resulted in a touchdown, securing a 21-14 win.
"We're not going to blame anything on James," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "They just made more plays in the fourth quarter."
The Steelers will sign another long snapper this week.