Football has proven time and time again that it’s a family game. From the players and the coaches, to the fans in the stands, it’s a sport that unites and causes the ties that bind relationships to grow stronger and stronger.
When former Pittsburgh Steelers legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and Pro Football Hall of Famer himself presents Class of 2020 Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu in August, the football lifer said it will be like putting his own son into the Hall.
Speaking with Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley, LeBeau said he was humbled to be asked by Polamalu to be his presenter, stating he was over the moon when Polamalu called to ask him to do the honors.
“I am very honored. I can tell you that,” said LeBeau to Varley. “I was so thrilled and happy for Troy when he got selected. I thought it would be unbelievably great if I was there just to see it. It was just so important to me that Troy go in, and that he got in with the first opportunity that was available to him. I had been telling everyone for five years that Troy would go in on the first chance he had because he was that great and certainly deserves it.
“Troy has a lot of people in his life. I would have understood wherever he went. I was over the moon when he did call and say he would like me to present him.
“Our players were like my sons. You saw it, you know personally how close we were as a defense. It’s going to be great putting your son in there.”
The pairing of Polamalu with LeBeau is what the long-time football coach describes as a perfect union. Troy’s freelancing, attacking style with elite-level instincts fit perfectly into LeBeau’s defensive style, which preached attacking defense from every angle, causing confusion for opposing quarterbacks and coaches, which led to a ton of success in the Steel City.
After being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame himself in 2010, LeBeau says he’s looking forward to getting back to Canton, this time to present a player that meant so much to his success as a defensive coordinator for 10 seasons in Pittsburgh.
“I can’t wait for it. That is one of the neatest things about getting to be there, have the honor to be there by his side, is to see his friends and teammates,” LeBeau said. “I know when I went in in 2010, the franchise took the whole team there and they all sat back in the left together. I couldn’t look back there at them. I would have started crying.
“It’s going to be so neat to be back in that arena and see the guys that were there when I went in, now there to support one of their own who is going in. It’s going to be great. A family reunion without a doubt.”