Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu, 33, decided to call it a career after twelve years. According to a Uniontown Herald-Standard article published Thursday, the player told Dan Rooney, chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, that he would retire and not enter a 13th season.
“Maybe it was a sign for me to retire when I chase my kids around and couldn’t catch them. It was either a sign for me to retire or a sign for them to begin training,”
Polamalu recently said.
The four-time All-Pro safety, who will soon be 34, had two more years on his contract with the Steelers. In 2010, he was declared NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but a series of injuries that kept him off the field made him rethink his options. In 2012 he missed nine games due to a calf injury, while in 2014 a knee injury forced him to miss four more games.
However, his team asked him to retire in February, but Polamalu said that he couldn’t make such a tough decision on his own. But last weekend an epiphany in church convinced him that that it was time to start living as he “had been living the dream”.
Polamalu said that he wouldn’t join another team if the Steelers chose to drop him. He also said that his decision was not related to whether he would play elsewhere, but to whether or not he wanted to further play.
But weeks before taking the decision, he talked to several family members and friends. They told him that there was no reason to continue playing as he had nothing left to prove. However, he was still hesitant until realizing that maybe the fact that he was pondering on the issue meant that it was time to move on.
Polamalu stated that debating the issue was a sign that maybe he shouldn’t play anymore a game that takes “a lot, a lot of commitment” to become an average player.
But Polamalu who was one of NFL’s most dynamic and volatile players was anything but average. His skills helped him become the backbone of the defense that served his team two Super Bowl victories and an appearance in another.
However, Steelers defense faced several other challenges as the “defensive football genius” Dick LeBeau failed to renew his contract early this year, while the talented outside linebacker announced his retirement at age 27.
The Steelers recently stated that Shamarko Thomas will replace Polamalu. The two men trained together last spring after Polamalu launched an invitation. Thomas joked that training with Polamalu was very similar to training to become a ninja.
Polamalu will be missed by his teammates who recall that his sharp instincts preformed miracles on the Steelers’ 3-4 defense. He will finish his career with seven recovered fumbles, a dozen of sacks, and 32 interceptions.
Josh Harris, Pittsburg’s running back, said he will miss him in the locker room. He recalled that Polamalu was the first person to introduce himself to him last year when he arrived for the first time at the camp. Harris said that he would never forget that.
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