Reporting to camp with Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith had a tough time reporting to training camp this year. He couldn't pull himself away from his family, which eight weeks ago was blessed by the birth of Elysia. But football is back. So is big daddy Smith.

AARON SMITH, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: Did you have any kind of an off-season?

No, it was real short. I was driving up here thinking, where did it go? It just seemed like a month ago we just got done playing. I guess that's good and bad. You stay in a rhythm but then again you don't have that much time.

Q: Was it extra busy for you being a Super Bowl champion??

It was a little extra busy but honestly having my third child is what really kept me busy this off-season.

Q: Congratulations. What's the name??

Thank you. Her name's Elysia. I have a girl who's four, a boy who's two and the newborn is eight weeks old.

Q: Isn't camp a reprieve for you??

I told my wife in a sense this will be a vacation. It'll be physically more demanding but I only have to worry about myself here. Once you're outnumbered it's a whole different ball game.

Q: Sad to leave the kids??

That was definitely the hardest part, the drive up here; saying goodbye to all them and then getting the phone calls all the way up here. I'm sure I'll continue to get phone calls for the next couple of days. That's difficult.

Q: You guys are something like 14-1 to win the championship. Aren't those long odds for a defending champion? And do you understand why teams aren't given a good chance to repeat??

There are a lot of factors: You're going to get a tougher schedule; shorter offseason; you're going to lose players because you won a Super Bowl and teams are going to scoop up your players because they know how to win. There are a lot of factors that are going to make it hard, but I think we have a good core group here if we keep everybody focused and driven in the same direction.

Q: What was it like following the news this summer??

I don't watch the news. Everything I heard was from people who told me stuff. People would say, ‘Do you know what's going on.' I'd say, I don't know guys. I don't talk to anybody.

Q: So are you up to speed??

I don't even know if I'm all the way up to speed. I might be missing something right now.

Q: From what you've heard, do you foresee problems??

No. I think once everybody gets here and we get everybody together, I think the veterans set the example and I think a lot of young guys will come along with the leaders.

Q: You used to be one of those young guys. Now you're a 30-year-old veteran.?

It's kind of weird to say that. I mean, saying that now I still don't feel old. It's kind of weird to be in that position because my mentality is still that of a second- or third-year guy: come in and work hard every day. I told my wife I feel like I'm 16 still.

Q: Are more guys are leaning on you aren't they??

Yeah. The veterans can help the young guys. That will only make us better. I think we have guys who are generous with their time. We all want to win. That's one thing I love about this team is everybody just wants to win.

Q: Did you have a good feeling coming out of the last training camp??

I always feel good. I always believe in our team. See, the media is a funny thing. You take the year we went 10-5-1 and we came back and went 6-10 when everybody thought we were going to be good. We were plagued with injuries. Then everybody said we're not going to be any good and we came back and went 15-1. There are a lot of factors. I think we have one of the most talented teams in the league. It's just a matter of us putting it together.


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