It has been two and a half years now since Troy Polamalu last played football. He played the entirety of what will inevitably be canonized as a Hall-of-Fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he played proudly for the city, giving everything on the field. Yet that doesn’t mean that he has the greatest relationship with the front office right now.
I think most are aware that while Polamalu retired after the 2014 season, he did so somewhat under duress, or at least under the very strong urging from the front office. It seems readily apparent that he believed that he could still play, but the Steelers were ready to move on, and presumably ‘coaxed’ him into retiring.
We have heard and written about Polamalu’s disappointment over the whole situation. He was recently honored at his alma mater and got to meet up with fellow alumnus, Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, while there. I also saw him with Brett Keisel recently.
But he hasn’t been seen, according to Ed Bouchette, near the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex or at Heinz Field since he and the Steelers parted ways. He said this during a chat yesterday when asked if Polamalu still had his issues with the team for how they handled the end of his career.
“I’d guess yes”, he said at the end of his answer after noting the lack of his presence surrounding anything involving the team since his player career came to an end. He was honored at a Pirates game, and that has been about his only ‘public’ appearance in the city that I am aware of.
It is unfortunate to read about one of the greats in the history of such a storied franchise having his issues with the team for which he played, but Polamalu is not the first—even with the Steelers—and he won’t be the last, either.
I also don’t think this cold shoulder is one that will last between himself and the organization; or at least I hope. He is never going to be one to make frequent public appearances. He is simply not that kind of person, generally reserved in his personal life.
But I am hopeful that in time he will make peace with how things ended and come back into the fold, at some point. He doesn’t need to be Jerome Bettis, but it would be good to see him, and hear from him, every once in a while.
It is understandable if that would take time. Polamalu was not ready to hang it up. He had just signed a two-year contract extension and was no doubt planning on seeing at least another year. He played 12 games in 2014, recording 61 tackles with a forced fumble, but just one pass defensed. He had five forced fumbles, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and two sacks the year before in 16 games.