"Coach Tomlin has talked to both Aaron Smith and James Farrior to let them know we are going to release them prior to the start of the NFL calendar year (March 13)," Steelers President Art Rooney II told the team's website, Steelers.com. "Both Aaron and James have given their all during their time in Pittsburgh and we appreciate their efforts and leadership they gave us."
Smith was originally drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Northern Colorado. He spent 13 years with Pittsburgh and was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2004 season when he led the team with a career-high-tying eight sacks.
"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 played in 160 career regular-season games, with 152 starts, to go along with 13 career starts in the postseason, including two Super Bowls (XL and XLIII). He finished with 44 career sacks, ranking 10th on the team's all-time list.
Smith was placed on the team's season-ending Reserve/Injured List three times (2007, 2009, 2011) in the past five years with various injuries.
Farrior was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Steelers in 2002 from the New York Jets. He was originally drafted by the Jets in the first round (8th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft before spending the past 10 years in Pittsburgh.
"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," Rooney added. "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."
Farrior started all 154 games he played with Pittsburgh in 10 seasons and finished with 30 sacks and eight interceptions as a Steeler. He started three Super Bowls (XL, XLIII and XLV) and a total of 15 postseason games overall.
Farrior earned two trips to the Pro Bowl following the 2004 and 2008 seasons. He was named team MVP in 2004 and was named first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career. Farrior led the team in tackles six times in his 10 seasons and was the recipient of "The Chief Award" in 2009 and 2011, which is given annually to the Steeler player who best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media.