Steelers may want Polamalu to retire so they don’t have to cut him

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Troy Polamalu was a great player for the Steelers for years, but he turns 34 next month, and he isn’t great anymore. Which puts the Steelers in an awkward position.

No one in Pittsburgh wants to see Polamalu get cut and try to finish his career in another uniform, but the Steelers don’t want to pay a lot of money for an aging, slowing veteran this season, and they’d save $3.6 million on their 2015 salary cap if Polamalu is not on the roster. The best option, from the Steelers’ perspective, may be for Polamalu to decide on his own to walk away.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Steelers would prefer for Polamalu to retire, so they don’t have to go through the awkward situation of cutting a loyal veteran and fan favorite. The Steelers are in good enough cap shape that they don’t have to cut Polamalu, but according to Bouchette it’s “90 percent he’s not gonna be back.”

Three years ago the Steelers were in a similar situation with Hines Ward: Pittsburgh didn’t think Ward had much left, but Ward wasn’t ready to call it a career right away. So the Steelers cut Ward, only to have Ward look around for a few weeks, find that there weren’t any great offers for his services, and then announce his retirement.

Ideally, a player like Polamalu should retire as a Steeler without getting cut first. But if Polamalu doesn’t retire, the Steelers may decide that they have no choice but to tell him his time in Pittsburgh is over.

86 responses to “Steelers may want Polamalu to retire so they don’t have to cut him

  1. That’s got to be a crappy situation to be in. You know he still wants to play, but he’s lost a step, and cutting him would be a PR nightmare.

  2. Ravens fan here- Polamalu is a great player, I hope he hangs it up just to avoid diminishing his legacy. I wish Ed Reed had done it that way.

  3. Its amazing how fast Polamalu went from being a superman to over the hill…

    It almost like it times up perfectly with the Steelers Doctor getting arrested and charged with 185 counts of distributing anabolic steroids…

    Weird coincidence huh??? Welp nothing to see here…

  4. Polomalu strikes me as a player who has probably been smart with his money so he probably doesn’t need that last nfl paycheck to survive the rest of his life.

    If he goes to another team, especially a division rival it could sour a potential future in Pittsburgh as a member of the local media and chances for local endorsement deals. Troy Brown has done very well in New England after retirement, with both quite a few commercials/endorsements and as on Comcast Sports NE.

    If he wants to keep playing he should work it out with the Steelers.

  5. He was a great player, but he has just flat out lost a step (or 5)

    He used to guess wrong, and it was no problem because he could catch the play from behind, but now if he guesses wrong, there’s a hole in the defense for the play.

    First ballot HOFer, just don’t ruin your legacy by not knowing when to go out!

  6. Troy Polamalu is a HOF but the last couple years he obviously has not been what he was. I’m as big of fan of polamalus as most of steeler nation but its time to move on. Honestly speaking here, I expected troy to go out the game better then he’s performed on the field the last two years.

  7. Why is it that some players fool themselves into thinking they still have it when clearly they don’t? Troy has had numerous concussions and if he ends up with dementia he will regret not spending more time with his family starting now. What a great player he has been and even a better teammate.

  8. I’m a huge Steelers fan and love Troy but he needs to go, and if he wants to keep playing and finds a team then I’d be happy for him.

    But I hate how the Steelers front office seems to be so emotional when it comes to these sort of things.

    Bruce Arians is a great coach, but he wasn’t a great OC and he needed to go. That’s fine. Fire him and say it was time to go in a new direction, not this weird retirement announcement. Same with Dick Lebeau, not this weird “mutual parting” crap.

    Troy needs to be cut, show respect to him privately and publicly in doing so, but just do it.

  9. It’s really not hard at all because blind loyalty wins you nothing. If he is no longer helping the team, you cut him. That’s how championship-level organizations operate.

  10. It so often seems that great players in any sport don’t know when to call it a career, and have to have the league finally tell them that it’s time to go, when no one wants their services anymore.
    Troy was a great player in his heyday, for sure, but hasn’t been truly outstanding for a while now, and in fact is a shadow of his former self.
    The Steelers parted ways with Hines Ward, Franco Harris, and others…pretty sure they’ll do the same with Polamalu if he doesn’t decide to go on his own.

  11. Same thing happened in green bay. They wanted Charles Woodson to retire and ride off into the sunset so they didn’t have to bear the pain of cutting the future hall of famer. But he wound up still having gas in the tank.

  12. Even if he retires, he still counts against the cap until the team cuts him.

    David Wilson retired last season but counted against the Giants cap until he was cut last month.

  13. I see him doing something out of the box and playing a cover LB for the Pats or Bills.

  14. If I were a player I’d hang around as long as I’m enjoying it and my body allows. If I loved it I’d hang around as a back up, practice squad whatever.

    The Cardinals / Kurt Warner situation and the Colts RB situation this year why if I was an agent I’d niche a market in former probowlers who are humble enough to hang around and coach up bad teams in backup roles.

  15. flaccodelic says:
    Mar 4, 2015 9:29 AM
    Ravens fan here- Polamalu is a great player, I hope he hangs it up just to avoid diminishing his legacy. I wish Ed Reed had done it that way.
    Fans need to get over themselves with this diminished legacy junk. Ed Reed is a Hall of Fame and one of the best safety of his generation so is Polamalu. No matter how long they try to hang on. If someone is still willing to employ them and they want to keep playing they should do it. Once that door shuts it’s shut forever so don’t go out with any lingering doubts.

  16. Love Troy, HOF player, one of the best Trojans ever. Troy should go out on his own terms, not yours or the Steelers front office. He’s earned that.

    One of AJ Smiths biggest blunders was not taking Troy and trading down to take another JAG safety.

    Hope Troy finds a team that wants him there to finish out his illustrious career.

  17. It is probably about time. Ever since he tore his ACL against the Titans a couple years back he hasn’t been the same player. He has still been an important player. Anyone who watches the Steelers on a regular basis can see the team is not the same when he is absent from injury. I wish him the best of luck on where ever he goes. He has had a decorated career. It might be best if he retires now than if he plays out his career somewhere else like Ed Reed.

    – A Bengals Fan

    P.S. I still hate you.

  18. Here is a thought… get some decent CB’s for him to play with and I think he could play 1-2 years. The Steelers have no CB’s who can cover a stump.

  19. He’s 34. I’ll be 32 this month. Wish I could retire at 34 with 5 million. I’d never work again lol. But you do what your heart tells you my man

  20. ntewsr says: Mar 4, 2015 9:57 AM

    Maybe the Steelers will “retire” him like Dick Lebeau

    Or Bruce Arians…

  21. When the Bears offered Brian Urlacher $2 million a year to come back in a limited role even though it was obvious that he was not even close to the player he once was they were ripped for being “disloyal” by those that had no idea what they were talking about.

    If you keep a player that is done for sentimental or PR reasons you are a fool and if you let them walk away you are cheap and cold hearted.
    You cannot win.

  22. Troy is a class act and always has been. I’ll never forget his play in the 2008 AFC Championship against the Ravens. Jumping over the pile to stop Flacco on fourth and 1 and the Pick 6 at the end. With that said Troy needs to realize that the game has/is passing him by. He has lost more than just a step and is becoming a liability in the defensive backfield. He is guessing wrong more often than he is right and when he does he is leaving massive holes in the secondary. As a fan I hope he realizes this and bows of gracefully and walks aways.

  23. I wonder if they could work something out like sign him for another year and have him be a part-time player, like a nickel or something. I’d hate to see him get cut. Wouldn’t he be able to work out some deal with the Steeelers that would allow him to restructure his contract so they could pay him less money this year and backload the contract which both know would never get picked up. This would allow him to take a paycut and not make an impact on their salary cap. I’d hate to see him get cut. He’s been a great player and I’d hate to see his legacy end by being cut like Hines Ward was.

  24. As a huge fan of the Bengals, the three guys I hated the most for years – Roethlisberger, Polamalu and LeBeau. My hatred for the Steelers just won’t be the same.

    Mass respect for all of them. That was the 3 headed monster that made Pittsburgh so great for so many years. Clark and Harrison too.

  25. I forgot my most hated guy – Ward… As a Steelers hater, you had to hate a guy that killed you with a smirk…

  26. I”m sorry to say it but he can’t play anymore. All he needs to do is look at the last playoff game against the Ravens to see that. He can hardly move out there.

  27. Troy is my favorite Steeler, but he is costing more loses then getting them wins. He should be cut if he doesn’t feel it’s time to retire. He’ll find a team that needs leadership/mentor but he won’t end up on a contender. Just retire then get your bronze bust in 5-6 years.

  28. Money is rule #1. If TP wants to continue to play he should acknowledge his diminishing skills and take a pay cut. Or retire.
    It’s a performance-based business, what have you done for me lately, Troy?

  29. Unitas as a Charger, Namath a Ram, Franco a Seahawk. Mike Webster as a Chief. Sad. Sometimes it works the other way. Montana did take KC to the playoffs. Rod Woodson reinvented himself as a safety and got a ring.

  30. how is this ‘sad’? the guy made millions while getting to play football and never has to work again. nothing sad about that.

  31. When most comments refer to Troy as was this or was that it’s time to move onto a player who IS this and IS that. Loyalty wins a team nothing. It usually ends up hamstringing them with the salary cap. Time to go Belichick on ole Troy. Cut him, thank him and sing his praises at the news conference.

  32. Say what you want about the Steelers organization, but they take care of their guys. Pretty cool.

    -Seahawks fan

  33. Tough situation to be in from a PR standpoint. However, this is what happens when a once great player hangs on too long. Do the right thing Troy, so the city can proudly celebrate your guaranteed HOF career.

  34. The SINGLE most important reason for Troy to retire is his health, especially his mental health. He’s had at LEAST, 5 serious concussions, and he’s already admitted that his wife has asked him several times to hang up the cleats.

    As a DIEHARD Steelers fan, I really do hope he listens to his wife. Fact is is that just ONE more serious concussion could severely limit his quality of life, not only in the short term but especially in the long term. We love you Troy, and we consider you a HOF’er who’s done so much for our franchise, but it is time for you to concentrate on the next phase of your life. There are many things much more important, than playing in the NFL.

    Godspeed to you and your family Troy!!!

  35. Work out a deal that he retire and hire him as a “marketing consultant” or something for decent money (no charge on the cap) with the understanding he stays retired. He gets money with no injury risk and the Steelers don’t have to cut a fan favorite.

  36. Polamalu was a great athlete and player, and by all accounts he’s an equally great person. While I think it might be wrong to say “he isn’t any good” he’s certainly not any longer in the (short) list of opposing Steelers players I worry about when they line up against my team.

    I hope TP does the right thing and retires with dignity. It’s been a joy – as a football fan more than a Browns fan – to watch him play, but all great things come to an end.

  37. I was surprised he came back last year after all of the concussions he has had. If you are already rich, have SB rings and a future HOFer, why risk more brain damage?

  38. I have probably been a Steeler fan longer than anyone responding. It seems clear to me that, as much as I lack respect for Belichick, the best of all choices seems to be cut, fire and praise. All of the aforementioned separations of players and coaches of Steelers has hurt, but mostly it has been obvious they were necessary. BTW, Troy was not just very good, excellent or super. He was freakishly in a class by himself! Those who have mocked him here should try another sport.

  39. I just commented about Andre Johnson crying about getting out of his contract but now I see it works both ways too. You knew he was aging, maybe you shouldn’t have signed him to a contract for that kind of money and that many years? I say play ball, I’m bald but I’m sure all that shampoo isn’t cheap!

  40. Steeler haters are the biggest set of losers in the free world. They hate us because we don’t cheat, take care of our players, show for home and away games, and of course… WE WIN. Haters keep hating… we’ll keep winning.

  41. If you could bottle it and sell it you’d make a fortune.

    Bettis did it and did it well. Long before he was asked or the media was suggesting it, and before he was broken, he came to the team and engineered a role that reflected him no longer having the “bell cow” back capacity. That took ego management, teamwork, respect for the franchise and a will to play and win.

    If anyone could emulate this, I think it would be Polamalu. He has always had his ego in check. Can Butler develop and sell something that could work?

  42. I respect Polamalu and hope he goes out with dignity and on his terms. I hate Ward because he was a professional cheapshot artist who applauded Steelers defensive players when they faked cramps or injuries to slow down other teams. Remember that whole “integrity of the game” thing that went around a month ago? It should be written under Ward’s name and mugshot and printed on milk cartons.

  43. LOL! So tired of hearing all these writers and people saying Troy is going to retire or get cut etc!! Guess you do not realize that Troy just signed a 3 year extension before this past season! He is not retiring and the Steelers will not cut him! He will play 2 mores years under contract , then he will retire!! End of Story!!

  44. Haters, we won the division(I predicted that), we’ll win it again this season and the Ravens will finish in 3rd place for a record third year in a row.

    Your 2014 draft was “smoke and mirrors”.

  45. You do realize that the only reason they signed Troy to the extension was for cap help right? They never intended on him fulfilling that contract.

  46. “Steelers may want Polamalu to retire so they don’t have to cut him”

    He’s been retired since after the Super Bowl against the Packers when they picked on him all day, ask Greg Jennings all day long.

    The most overrated player in the history of the NFL.

  47. socalcharger says: Mar 4, 2015 9:59 AM

    Love Troy, HOF player, one of the best Trojans ever. Troy should go out on his own terms, not yours or the Steelers front office. He’s earned that.

    One of AJ Smiths biggest blunders was not taking Troy and trading down to take another JAG safety.

    SoCalCharger, Just to set the facts straight, it was Marty Schottenheimer who didn’t want Troy Polamalu at #15 pick. Polamalu had a history of concussions already at USC and Marty didn’t want him. So, the Chargers traded out of the Top 15 into the #30th slot.

  48. Not a Steelers fan, but in his prime, Polamalu was the most complete and dominant safety I have seen play the game in 30 years of watching the NFL. Devastating against both the pass and the run, he also had a knack for timing the blitz. That said, he’s not the player he was, not even close. Be nice to see him retire a Steeler, before the last wheel falls off.

  49. As a Ravens fan I loathe the team, but grudgingly respect some of the players like Ward and Polamalu. He certainly has a highlight real of plays against the purple and black. That one play where he vaulted the line and sacked Flacco will never be forgotten, but clearly he has not been the same player the last 2 years. I tip my cap, and understand how a Steeler fan might get aggravated seeing him in another uniform, but he is a sure fire 1st ballot HOFer, and has earned the right to do as he chooses, if he still wants to play and another team wants to pay him. I wanted Reed to retire. He was toast at the end. I was shocked he got paid after he left, but was relieved it wasn’t the Ravens paying him. Hell of a career 43, either way.

  50. …nobody remembers where a HOF player plays his last season……Montana is always a 49er but played last game as a KC chief…..Emmitt Smith always a Cowboy (finished with Cards)…broadway Joe always a Jet (finished with Rams). If Pittsburgh cuts him and he plays for someone else for 1 or 2 more years , he’ll always be a Steeler. He a class act and deserves to go out anyway he wants.

  51. “Steelers may want Polamalu to retire so they don’t have to cut him”

    He’s been retired since after the Super Bowl against the Packers when they picked on him all day, ask Greg Jennings all day long.

    The most overrated player in the history of the NFL.

    I guess you are trying to convinces us you know nothing about Steeler football….great job because you did! He is a HOF’er even if the keyboard commandos don’t think so.

  52. I would have to say its a year too late for Troy to retire. A great Safety and probable HOFer. His game has become predictable because he doesn’t have the speed or quickness anymore to counter what other teams know is coming. As for the money part of it. The Steelers could turn around and hire him as a coach and let him make it that way.

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