Safety Troy Polamalu has suddenly become an elder statesman for the Steelers.
The departure of several veteran players from Pittsburgh this offseason has thrust Polamalu into a more prominent leadership role this season and it’s one he’s embracing. He’s been in Pittsburgh for offseason work for the first time in years and he’s making an effort to connect with younger players. The new role and the passing of years have made Polamalu reflective of where he is in his career.
In an interview with Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Polamalu said he isn’t thinking about the end of his career because “when you live day to day, it’s hard to talk years.” Polamalu knows that living day to day doesn’t always offer much solace, however.
“People are paralyzed on a football field. People die,” Polamalu said. “You just never know when it’s going to be your last moment. I was the kind of guy who would never talk to my wife on game day. Now I’m the guy who’s like, ‘I love you.’ I want my children to know I love them because I don’t know what’s going to happen out there. I’m not trying to play the martyr here. I love football. It’s something we choose to do. We all know how much of a gamble it is to play this game.”
With so much attention on concussions and the post-football health of players, Polamalu offers some interesting insight into the thoughts of the players who choose to play the game. The whole interview is well worth a read as it delves into Polamalu’s internal thoughts as he prepares for his 10th NFL season.