The organized team activities are under way for the Pittsburgh Steelers. James Harrison noted that not as many of his old friends are around to go to McDonald’s with him and Ben Roethlisberger mentioned something about the new offensive playbook being difficult. Add to that the absence of one Speedy Mike Wallace and you pretty much have all of your offseason talking points wrapped up in one easy to swallow package.
Wait what!! Those flowing locks and the surfer’s tan look familiar but are not usually seen in these parts until the dog days of summer. It’s true! Steeler Nation has its first confirmed Troy Polamalu sighting of the year. For years #43 has been regularly excused from OTAs and even minicamps for reasons that include family vacations, spiritual retreats, and remaining in So Cal to work out with his trainer, wait for it…… Todd Marinavich . Kudos to Todd for getting things turned around for himself and for yearly delivering the Steelers an in shape, game ready, Pro Bowl caliber, safety. Not bad work for a former Raider.
Polamalu’s absences have never really been news worthy bits around here. Just Troy doin’ what Troy do. But his presence sure is getting some traction. Troy was quoted as saying he will be attending all of the OTAs and minicamp this year “for obvious reasons”. Those obvious reasons may include: A) the decimation of defensive leadership due to the injuries/retiring/jettisoning of Hampton, Farrior, Smith, Hoke, McFadden, and others. B) The humiliating kick in the crotch (hey, Sting lyric) delivered to the Black and Gold in the first round of last year’s playoffs by one Mr. Tebow. Or, C) Troy was dying for a Primanti Brothers #1. Whatever his reasons, all of which are pretty ‘obvious’, I am certainly in favor of his esprit de corps.
Troy Polamalu, to me, has always been that rarest of NFL personalities. He has been able to somehow balance being both the total team player and the pent ultimate family man. He looks out for himself without coming off as selfish (a little aloof maybe) and has consistently delivered solid, sometimes spectacular, football type playing for 9 NFL seasons. The contrast of the feral looking athlete vaulting over the O line to snuff a play and the devoutly religious, family first man is striking indeed. I remember a moment right after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. Polamalu was celebrating the victory on the field with his wife and new baby when an interviewer approached him to get some post game reaction. The first thing Troy did was shake the man’s hand and introduce him to his wife, Theodora. Not typical jock mentality (now there’s an oxymoron) in any shape.
So, welcome to Pittsburgh in the springtime, Troy. We’re thrilled you’re here; for obvious reasons.
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