Former Steelers tackle Marvel Smith will be inducted into the Arizona State University Hall of Fame on Oct. 1 when ASU hosts Oregon State.
Smith, who played at ASU from 1997-99, was named first-team All-American by Football News his senior year. He was also named a second-team AP and third-team Sporting News All-American that season.
"It's definitely an honor," said Smith. "I have been having a hard time putting it into perspective. It's one of the only things bestowed upon me I didn't have as a goal. I achieved a Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and getting drafted into the NFL. I know it's a huge deal and it will never be taken from me. I have never put individual accomplishments as a priority. I just tried to set an example and play to the best of my ability."
It will be the first time Smith has been able to get back to an Arizona State game since his playing days, and he is looking forward to it.
"I never got to attend while I was playing and since I haven't been playing life has been a whole lot busier than I thought it would be," said Smith. "I am looking forward to it, especially the way the team is playing under Coach (Dennis) Erickson. There is so much more of a spotlight on ASU with the way the team is playing. I am looking forward to being included with some of the great athletes who have been inducted before me."
Smith, the Steelers second-round draft pick in 2000, played nine seasons for the Steelers before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009. Smith retired before that season began.
Smith said it was tough to watch the Steelers play last year, still feeling that closeness to the game, but is watching them now.
"When I first retired it was hard," said Smith. "Last year when they went to the Super Bowl I thought I was past it. Once I saw the run that they went on through the playoffs, and the main core of the team are the guys I played with my whole career, it was hard to watch.
"If I walked away on my own terms it would have been easier to watch. When I retired it was the worst time for me. That is when I felt like I was becoming the player I wanted to be, I could do anything I wanted to on the field, but my body started breaking down. What should have been the most enjoyable time to play was the worst because I had to retire."
He has some great memories from his playing days with the Steelers, but the best was just working together with his teammates.
"We were a physically dominant team," said Smith. "Any team we played against, they knew it was going to be a physical game. It was a blessing to be able to play with that type of team. As I watched the defense fly around the field like they did during my career, it just gave me more motivation to go out there and dominate when the offense was on the field. The way the offense and defense fed off each other is what I miss the most."
Since his retirement Smith has opened Elite Performance Factory in the Los Angeles area.
"We cater to all ages, from little kids to professional athletes," said Smith. "Now my main focus is training offensive and defensive linemen, doing football camps and going around talking to as many young kids as I can and trying to influence them in a positive way."