Polumalu Steps Aside
The best Safety of a generation retires from the NFL
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu announced his retirement from the National Football League this week at the age of 33, ending his illustrious twelve-year playing career, all in Pittsburgh.
Troy was selected in the first round (16th overall) by the Steelers in 2003. He started 142 games while playing in a total of 158 regular season games, Troy also started all 15 postseason games in his career. Troy’s career regular season total stats included 12.0 sacks, 32 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles and 7 fumble recoveries, and his postseason stats include 1.5 sacks and 3 total interceptions. The eight time Pro Bowler was also named First Team All-Pro four times and Second Team twice. He was also named to the 2000’s NFL All-Decade Team and to the Steelers’ 75th Anniversary Team, not to mention winning the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year.
Accolades aside though, the two-time Super Bowl champ Polamalu made an impact just by being in the secondary. He was an anchor of that vaunted “Steel Curtain” defense his entire career and was one of the most feared safeties in the league the way he would absolutely thump opposing players. Polamalu’s last few seasons were plagued by injuries, so he wasn’t as impactful like in previous seasons, but just him being out there made sure other teams had to worry about the Steelers’ defensive leader.
Troy was one of the few players still left in this league who would lay his body out on the line to make a game saving tackle or just to light someone up. As great a tackler as he was you’ve got to believe that him being such a physical player is a big reason why his career is coming to an end at the age of just 33. He could have also said to himself “What else can I do?” the man has literally done it all and then some in this league so why risk a serious injury when you’ve got a family to think about?
A sure fire future Hall of Fame Inductee, Polamalu was just as respected off the field in the community of Pittsburgh. Most known for all of his work at Children’s Hospitals, the NFL recognized his efforts in his charity work by nominating him for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Troy was personally one of my favorite players to watch. In his prime he was as physical a defensive back as I’ve seen play before the league decided to soften up. Wide receivers would fear hearing the footsteps of Polamalu downfield. He wasn’t just a hitter though. The thing I will remember him most for is the way he could time the snap of the ball, it was, and always will be a thing of beauty. He was a brilliant mind on and off the field and the way he carried himself as well, collegiate players should look at Polamalu as a mentor for the way he played the game but also the way he helped out his community and giving the league a good name.
You will be missed Troy! Thank you for all of the highlights and memories. Next stop, Canton!