Steelers Front Office Member Recalls Day Team Traded Up For Troy Polamalu

It’s been rare for Kevin Colbert to like a player so much he’s willing to trade up in the first round for one. It happened this past year with Devin Bush, who looks like a home run selection. It happened with Santonio Holmes in 2006, which brought them their 6th and most recent Lombardi in the trophy case. But it first happened with Troy Polamalu in 2003, one of the best decisions Colbert has ever made. Player Personnel Coordinator Dan Rooney Jr. gave a nugget of insight into that draft day.

Rooney Jr. penned a thread on Twitter Monday morning.

Colbert moved up, trading away #27, a third, and a sixth in exchange for #16 and selecting Polamalu. A deal Kansas City probably regrets but they wound up selecting Larry Johnson with the Steelers’ pick, who shined brightly for a few years in the Chiefs’ backfield.

Colbert reflected a bit on Polamalu’s slow start, making rookie mistakes while adjusting and learning the game, though made it clear the organization never lost faith.

Fast forward to today and Polamalu is all but guaranteed to be selected to the Hall of Fame this weekend. His induction will hopefully bridge the divide that’s existed between him and the team since retiring. With Donnie Shell already selected and Alan Faneca having a chance to get in, the organization will be well represented in Canton.

One other element to consider is the continuity of the Steelers’ front office. There were three staff members mentioned in that Twitter thread. Rooney Jr, Colbert, and Kelvin Fisher. All three remain with the team 17 years later. Fisher circled back to the club after following Doug Whaley to Buffalo, hired back back the team in 2018. Rooney Jr. and Colbert have been with the Steelers the entire time. That’s rare continuity in a front office and one reason why they’ve drafted better than other teams over the past two decades.

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