In case there was any doubt, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will start Saturday night in the AFC Wild Card Game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.
“Yes he does,” said Tomlin when asked by Bill Hillgrove of the Steelers Radio Network if Polamalu will start against the Ravens.
Polamalu has missed the last two games with a knee injury and earlier in the week Tomlin didn’t give a definite answer as to whether or not his veteran safety would be back this week. Tomlin referred to that decision as being a complex one and in his most recent sit-down he was asked to clarify what he meant by that.
“I needed to see him prepare,” said Tomlin. “Sometimes a guy is able to play at the 11th hour and they don’t get the in-helmet preparation over the course of the work week. When you get to January football and the stakes are high, detail is going to define you. Not only him but us, and you need that in-helmet preparation to do it.
“He was able to practice this week, and so that made the decision easier. Had he not been able to practice this week, that’s an element of the discussion that makes it more complex. That’s what I was referring to earlier in the week.”
When Polamalu was sidelined, veteran safety Will Allen filled in well and even had his best game of the season last Sunday night in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Allen still might see some defensive snaps against the Ravens, nonetheless.
Polamalu has made some big plays in the playoffs in the past and we all remember his interception against the Ravens in 2009. Depending on the outcome of Saturday night’s Wild Card Game, this could be Polamalu’s final game as professional should the Steelers lose.