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Friday, April 10, 2015

Polamalu calls it quits

You'll read plenty about Troy Polamalu and what a class act he was throughout his career with the Steelers.

I won't bore you with any of those stories.

I'll share just this one.

In 2004, after Polamalu had put together a rookie season that had many fans wondering if the Steelers had made a mistake in moving up in the draft to acquire the young safety.

Early in training camp, I decided to do a story on Polamalu. There was one problem, Polamalu never came to lunch, even in those days.

See, you had two opportunities to talk to players, during lunch or after practice. And Polamalu was good at avoiding reporters in all cases. It's not that he didn't like talking. He just didn't enjoy talking about himself, especially back then.

Polamalu was always engaging in one-on-one situations. You could talk music, spirituality, etc. But get him in a group setting and it was a lot of yes and no replies, or his favorite, "Sure."

So I decided to get him after practice. Half an hour after everybody else had left the field, Polamalu was still out there running.

And I waited.

Fourty-five minutes had passed and he looked over at me and smiled. I had waited him out.

He came over with his sheepish smile and I asked if I could talk to him for a few minutes. We spoke about a number of subjects, him standing there sweating from his 3-plus hour workout, me because it was about 90 degrees.

After about 15 minutes, I had run out of questions. But he had stood there and answered them all.

It's not much of a story or an exciting one, but it's one I'll always remember with Polamalu. He had to be dog tired at that point, but he took the time to talk to me. He wasn't going to blow me off after I waited for him - and other guys have over the years.

When we were done, he thanked me, shook my hand and we went on our way.

That was Troy Polamalu. Always a gentleman. Never too big, even when he was one of the game's biggest stars.


Lance Stalnaker said...

We all knew it was coming, but still as sad day for Steeler fans. He will always be one of my favorites for many reasons. What a class act.

Anonymous said...

We lost a Super hero today. 43 (go figure) year old man crying like a baby... The best part was the end, the man, the interview... If the link doesn't make it through, I am sure you can all search youtube...
Thanks troy!!!!

marc said...

Thank you #43.

DD said...

There will never be another like him. Although I was "pulling" for him to retire vs. coming back and showing more decline in ability, I feel terrible for feeling that way at all today. His retirement honestly makes me sad. Don't think I have ever felt that way about a player before. I will miss him on Sundays. Best of luck TP! Hopefully, you can stay tied to the org in some way in the future.

Greg W. said...

When you look up "sui generis" in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Troy. When he enters the HOF, it will be a little strange, because that honor, while well-deserved, equates him with players who are nothing like him and kind of under-appreciates his greatness. Few players have made the game as thrilling as Troy in so many ways. And a terrific human being to boot. I hope it will be a long, long time before any Steeler wears #43!

Go Steelers!

adamg said...

My favorite memory is of Troy intercepting a Carson Palmer pass, then bowling his former USC roommate over on his way to the endzone. A truly amazing athlete.

I'll bet the Dancing with the Stars producers are already on the phone with Demoff.

datruth4life said...

Dale, do you expect the Steelers and Troy to officially file his retirement papers before or after June 1? In other words, the Steelers could have $6M in salary cap space by filing his papers after June 1 or $3.75M now but taking all dead money on to this year's salary cap if it's done before June 1.

Personally, I would want the $6M in salary cap room this year in case some veterans are cut loose later this summer that could help this team this year.

Dale Lolley said...

I think he will do whatever they need him to do. I would guess that they'll wait.

snarky said...

Thanks for the memories and championships Troy.

Anonymous said...

I'd say take the cap penalty now in 2015, no way the Steelers land any FA worth more than the 3.75 mil floor they save on Polamalu this year if they pay it all off.

George Siegel said...

Waiting until June 1 makes sense, even if they don't have plans for the money. If they don't use the money, it would roll into next years cap. That would cover the dead money and would, in effect, be the same as filing the papers before June 1. But if they needed the money it would be there for them to use.

Anonymous said...

No matter how you shake it things are looking great salary cap wise for the Steelers in the near future. Between the cap going up annually & getting off the hook for Woodley's and Polamalu's contracts, there will be plenty of room to keep the main components of this offense together for the rest of Ben's career, and ensure everyone is happy and paid. Not to mention in the next three years Ben's contract is going to look like a hometown discount with the increase of inflation.

Anonymous Brian said...

TFL on Chris Johnson, 3rd-and-6, in 2009 opener in first quarter - looked almost fake he got there so fast.

Anonymous said...

The cap increases for every team, it's not an inherent advantage for anyone one team.

Dale Lolley said...

Any money they save can be used for extensions. They have to do Heyward this year, but they've also got pending guys such as Beachum, Gay and Foster.
They picked up DeCastro's option, but they have to think extension there too.