For the second time this offseason, a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers brain trust has updated us in order to make it clear that the Pittsburgh Steelers brain trust has no update regarding the 2015 status of strong safety Troy Polamalu.
And you kind of have to wonder exactly what that means, and if it means there might be more involved in the decision-making than beat writers previously had us believe.
The narrative all offseason has been that the Steelers front office will part ways with Polamalu in one way or another, but that they would greatly prefer that he choose to retire, even if it takes a friendly nudge to get him to see that that would be the best thing for him to do. Failing that, they would be forced to release him.
According to most reports, only team president Art Rooney II, who recently gave the non-update update, could alter Polamalu’s inevitable fate and keep him on the roster for the 2015 season.
Should this indeed be the scenario that the team is currently facing, then there are a number of reasons that factor into the decision to give him his time, rather than forcing him into a move now—or forcing the move themselves.
And it goes back a few years to when former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians ‘retired’, only to twice be named Head Coach of the Year since then. That’s quite a post-retirement resume, and certainly an embarrassment for the Steelers.
The organization chose not to make the same mistake again when they parted ways this offseason with longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who quickly found a new role with the Tennessee Titans. They certainly don’t want to have Polamalu ‘retire’ only to have him wind up in Nashville or Phoenix.
Of course, the team has released valued players before, such as Hines Ward and James Harrison. But the difference in those instances is that the Steelers were hurting for cap space and had no time to grant these franchise building blocks the dignified exit that they would have otherwise been entitled to.
Thus, we have no update on Troy Polamalu nearly two weeks into free agency. Does that mean that he’s unwilling to discuss his future plans with the team right now? Does he feel betrayed or insulted?
But, as I mentioned, the Steelers are not hurting for salary cap space. In fact, they already have a surplus that they have essentially stated that they do not foresee spending. Could it be that Rooney is actually allowing Polamalu to make his own decision about whether or not to play, as has been the public charade?
The longer it is that we go without a meaningful update about Polamalu’s status, the more I can’t help but wonder about what the lack of information means, as it sounds as though the Steelers are just as much in the dark about his future intentions as it everybody else.