Steelers Polamalu Retires: What Else Is There To Say?


The Steelers and Troy Polamalu are finally moving on from each other.

It’s been a day of impending doom that we as Steeler Nation have been dreading for some time. Not because Troy’s leaving the Steelers and football with gas still left in the tank, but because this marks the end of an era for fans and this team.

So many people have weighed in already. Written their epitaphs or lamented Troy’s retirement through Twitter, news sites, Facebook, blogs, or screaming from their front yards.

It’s been less than 24 hours. What more is there to say at this point?

Ben Roethlisberger might get a lot of attention and be considered the ‘face of the franchise.’ But, it was Troy Polamalu who was the soul of this team for at least a decade.

If you are part of my generation, Troy carved and shaped what it was like to be a Steelers fan. His bone crushing hits, his almost unreal ability to move around the field and find the ball juxtaposed from his quiet demeanor on the sidelines left such a deepening impression for someone like me who was in their early 20’s when Troy entered the league.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, Troy Polamalu brought something special and magical that was akin to the Steelers defense of the 70’s. My dad saw that too and loved every minute of it.

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Troy is and was a Steeler through and through. There really is none other like him. Nor, I doubt, will there be anyone quite like him ever again.

He will go down as one of the greats, and I will consider him the greatest Steeler that played since those dynastic 70’s.

He treated his teammates like his brothers and would always refer to them as such. He took losses harder than anyone in that locker room, and from recounts from Dejan Kovacevic he also took to heart more than anyone the decline of the defense after the 2010 season.

Polamalu is a family man. He’s soft spoken. A man of class. A humanitarian. The complete antithesis to the long-haired “Tasmanian Devil” flying around the football field. He never ran his mouth. If he gave a huge hit (which was often), he just got up and walked back to the line to do it again.

Quite possibly the only player in the NFL to ever make that a way of football life for himself.

He’s not even going to hold a press conference to announce his retirement. It came through a quiet interview with Jim Wexell and a phone call to the team president. For a man who attracts the spotlight, he sure loves to shed it quickly. I do not fault him for that one bit.

We may not even see his face for a solid year or more if Wexell is correct. No one really knows what he’s going to do now. I doubt even he has a plan quite yet. Spending as much time with his family will probably be for starters.

"I live here in Pittsburgh now and, since the end of the season, I’ve had a chance to enjoy my family on a level I never had before. It was awesome. – Troy speaking to Jim Wexell"

Troy may have waited a bit longer than perhaps the Steelers wanted him to. But, in the end, they respected his decision to contemplate. A nod to meeting him halfway down the road of class.

Troy said that he never contemplated playing for any other team than the Steelers these last few months. It’s comforting to know that as the final chapter closes.

I’ll always wonder if he was hoping that the front office would swoop in like they have done in the past for guys like Brett Keisel and James Harrison. Or perhaps it was all about family – that the last few months opened up a part of him that could not live another day with Football Troy.

We may never know, and it doesn’t matter.

The greatest Steeler since the 70’s (if not ever) is finally done.

It still stings my football soul, but as the warmer winds shift and break up the clouds this morning from my neck of the woods, my spirits are brightened knowing that I was able to experience such a special part of Steelers history.

Thank you, Troy.

Alright, so maybe there still was quite a bit to say – at least my own part to say in all of this. I’d imagine that many of you do too, if you haven’t yet already. Please share in the comments. I would love to hear your own Legend of Troy.

Next: Draft: Breaking Down Steven Nelson

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