Soon enough, Troy Polamalu will put on his gold jacket in Canton, Ohio. But his first Hall of Fame stop comes at the college level. Polamalu was one of several players part of the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame. The inductees were announced Monday morning.
Polamalu is one of 13 players part of this year’s class. It’s a list full of notable names at the college and NFL level. He joins the likes of Vince Young, Darren McFadden, Joe Thomas, Torry Holt, and Patrick Willis.
Starting three seasons for the Trojans, Polamalu recorded 278 tackles (29 for a loss), picked off six passes, and blocked four punts. He was named an All-American his senior season in 2002. It’s a little grainy but here’s one highlight reel from his days in college.
Polamalu turned that stellar college career into becoming the Steelers first round pick in 2003. After a tough rookie year, he exploded from there, an eight-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro player, and winner of the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Award. He ended his career with 32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles, and 12 sacks. Polamalu will first be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year, where he should get inducted on his first try.
Unfortunately, like too many great Steelers, he’s had a rocky relationship with the organization post-career. Polamalu has never talked about how his time with the team ended but it’s generally understood the team forced him out, moving on before he was personally ready to retire. He hasn’t been around Pittsburgh since, joining the likes of Terry Bradshaw, James Harrison and maybe soon enough, Antonio Brown, who’ve had rifts with the franchise.
Currently, Polamalu serves as the start-up Alliance of American Football’s Head of Player Relations. The AAF kicks off the start of their league February 9th.