Troy Polamalu faces his football mortality

Getty Images

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.

24 responses to “Troy Polamalu faces his football mortality

  1. Hard to believe it will be his 10th season, and besides Ed Reed, probably the best safety in recent years. Broncos need better safeties.

  2. I know Steelers fans don’t want to hear this but his best days are clearly behind him.

    I hope he plays a long time, but he’s not what he was.

  3. Window, closed. And even before that they needed the refs to hand them their last two SB’s. Refs even admitted to it. Team is a joke.

  4. I love watching Polamalu play. And I’m not sure his best days are over. Even if he has lost a step, he’s still better than most safeties in the NFL. I sure would like him in the Redskins secondary. 🙂

  5. Only a raven fan would make a stupid comment like that. Doesn’t matter if Troy is the best or worst, he will go down as one of the greatest minds in SPORTS not football. He’s a great man that thinks only about others an not himself. Can’t say the same for the man who thinks hes the greatest QB this day in age, Flacco……

  6. I agree that Lott is the greatest safety ever. I agree with ravenator that Ed Reed is better than troy but there’s no doubt that Troy is still top 10 maybe top 5 safeties of all time. Even tho he’s not that player he once was he still a beast.

  7. lolb23 says:
    Jun 10, 2012 11:21 AM
    Window, closed. And even before that they needed the refs to hand them their last two SB’s. Refs even admitted to it. Team is a joke


    23; 23; 23;

    With Polamalu starting on D and Roetlisberger on O for the last 8 years, 89-39 in the regular season and 10-4 in the playoffs including 2-1 in SBs. Yeah that’s a real joke of a team. The Pats have done better in that span but who else?

    As to refs handing Steelers SBs. You don’t lose by 10 and blame the refs – only whiners do that. Did a ref or a Steeler intercept the pass against AZ right before half and go a 100 yds? Did the refs or the Steelers drive 90 yds. to the winning TD?

    We’ll have a good giggle at your “joke” as we shine up the Lombardis.


    Then there’s

    ravenator says:
    Jun 10, 2012 11:22 AM
    Reed > Polamalu

    Keep trying to justify otherwise pittsburgh, it’s really quite hilarious


    How many times do we see Reed in the O backfield for a strip sack or a tackle for loss? Reed is a great centerfielder; that’s what he does best but is he more valuable than Polamalu? I doubt it. I think the Ravens have done better without Reed than the Steelers without Polamalu.

    Perhaps you and 23 have the same perverse sense of humor?

  8. Great article. Fascinating guy. Since he and Reed play different positions in very different ways, the comparisons are nonsensical and the product of immature minds that clearly have little understanding of the game. Both are on the downside of their careers, and both will be a loss to the sport.

  9. As a Browns fan I’m sure my comment has not credence in any circle besides fellow Brownies. But, there are few that play the game as Polamulu does. His reckless abandon for his body is entertaining and has showed up in many highlight reels. Maybe not the best safety to play the game but it’s hard to argue that doesn’t give his all on the field. Great guy and great football player. Wish there were more like him, especially on my team.

  10. @ironcity6pack
    What do you mean by greatest mind? Wisdom or the ability to read plays? He is wise and not a typical d-bag I’ll give you that, but in no way is he a great sports MIND. He’s not a ball hawk, he doesn’t read the qb like a middle linebacker. Not saying he’s bad at all, he’s surely great at blitzing and fits the Pitt scheme perfectly but not even close to a top nfl mind. On defense alone Ray Lewis and Ed Reed read qb’s and plays better hands down. Them about 10-15 more in the nfl, the Polomalu. Great guy, great player, not top dog.

  11. Great player. Will be considered on of the better safeties of all time.

    It’s hard to say what the next few years hold for him…..good, very good or great.

    His age and his injuries are catching up to him, yet there’s no doubt most any team would take him.

    Good luck Troy.

  12. Why is the media constantly bombarding the fans with player interviews? Do people really care what a football player or any athelite has to say? I use to watch interviews and then one day it occured to me that the players say the same thing, no matter football, baseball, track, hoops, its all the same crap. If you need to listen to someone, give your parents a call.

  13. Are you serioues rockthered1286? He doesn’t have a great football mind? 10-15 defenders have more intelligent football minds than Polamalu? That’s a joke.

    He covers all 3 layers on defense. He can play from the line, from the middle, and from the secondary. It’s not just a matter of ball hawking either, he lines up from those positions and plays them effectively.

    All this Polamlau disrespect and Ed Reed loving is hilarious. First of all, they play different positions and play far different roles in their respective defenses. Polamalu’s ability to play the run and blitz makes up for Reed’s better ball hawking ability. Again though, they play different positions and different roles, so it’s stupid to compare in that aspect. The only thing you can really compare is how much more important each player is to their respective team’s defense. For that, I’ve seen the Steelers suffer far worse without Polamalu or with an injured Polamalu than the Ravens have had with an injured Reed.

    I understand Ravens fans will always be bitter about Polamalu for sending the Steelers to the Super Bowl off the hand of Flacco in the AFCCG, and the game winning strip-sack of Flacco on SNF.

  14. I’m a Broncos fan, and have no interest either way..but I would rather have Reed tha Polomolu, but they are both awesome. Atwater was better than both..but all 3 are/were great players! But seriously, they all had different styles. Atwater would knock players outta their shoes…

  15. All these safeties are great players. Lott was the gold standard. However, Polamalu, Atwater, Lynch etc, all had similar games. I think Reed has brought something unique to the table, there’s been no one quite like him.

  16. I can’t help but laugh at the Steeler fans trying to justify that Polamalu is better than Reed. It must suck when even the player himself admits, Reed is the better player.

  17. This is as bad as politics! Why does everything have to be a fight? Why can’t we some times just stick to common ground? Deb nails it. Reed & Polamalu play very different positions…and they are both great at what they do. Undoubtedly the two best at free safety & strong safety in years. Both incredible, dynamic, impact players. Both reaching the end of their respective careers & contemplating when, how & why the end will come. Whenever, however, we can only hope it comes without injury to either player & we can all know that it will be a terrible loss for Ravens fans, Steeler fans, and football fans.

    ..and the Eric Berry, Earl Thomas & Mark Barron’s of the world are ready to show us if they can fill those shoes!

  18. Troy P is the type of player who should be involved in the league after he retires, be it union side or NFL side. He’s a thinker. They need more of those.

  19. Sorry, Troy is better than Reed now period. No question about that. Reed at his absolute best may have been better than Troy at his absolute best, but that was years ago. Reed is out hurt half the time, whiffs and misses tackles left and right, and on the rare occasion he’s in the right spot at the right time he ruins a good turnover by constantly trying to lateral the ball as he’s being tackled. All my Ratbird fan friends have admitted they’d much rather have Troy in lieu of Reed any day.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!