Though nothing is certain and safety comes first, David Baker and the Pro Football Hall of Fame remains optimistic about Troy Polamalu’s chances of being enshrined in-person this weekend.
On July 30th, Polamalu tweeted he tested positive for COVID, casting doubt on his ability to travel to Canton for his Hall of Fame induction.
I recently tested positive for the Covid-19. Thank God I feel great and family are well. I’m working with the HOF to ensure we abide by all protocols to make it to Canton in time for all the festivities…
— Troy Polamalu (@tpolamalu) July 30, 2021
Baker, President of the Hall, spoke on a recent podcast of how Canton and Polamalu are doing everything possible to ensure he can give his induction speech in-person.
Baker talked with the Eye Test For Two podcast, as transcribed by Sports Illustrated’s Clark Judge.
“He’s progressing well, and we’re monitoring it,” Baker said. “If he shows no symptoms the first day which he’s allowed to travel, it should be Friday (to) Monday. So we think he can make it here for the Saturday enshrinement. And that’s what we’re working on.”
Polamalu is scheduled to be the tenth speaker on Saturday. Baker said it’s possible he can’t be there the week’s entire events, including the Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Cowboys tomorrow, but the goal is to have him there for the actual ceremony.
As speculation on my part, perhaps the Hall could even move him to Sunday if he needs another day to gain medical clearance. Sunday’s slated to have fewer speakers than Saturday, so logistically, it could be a benefit and lighten Saturday’s busy schedule.
If Polamalu is unable to attend, Baker said the Hall will have a contingency plan for his speech, including him being there virtually and with a video presentation. But he knows nothing can replace attending the Hall of Fame in person.
“There’s no substitute for being in Canton. There’s no substitute for seeing the smiles of all the people who helped to get you here. We’re taking it day by day. We’re praying every day as well.”
Polamalu may have enough time to get cleared medically especially given the fact he said he “feels great.” He’s the second Steelers Hall of Famer to announce they’ve tested positive for the virus. Jerome Bettis tweeted the same news two days after Polamalu.
Part 1: It is important for me to let you all know that I recently tested positive for COVID-19. I’m currently in isolation at home. Fortunately, I am blessed that my symptoms are very mild because I am vaccinated.
— Jerome Bettis (@JeromeBettis36) August 2, 2021
It’s unclear if Bettis will be able to attend. The Steelers will have five people inducted into Canton this week: Donnie Shell, Bill Nunn, Bill Cowher, Alan Faneca, and Polamalu.
Baker said he feels like there’s a good chance Polamalu will attend in some capacity.
“I feel very positive that there’s a good shot that, if you work with the timing and everything else … we’ve talked to our public officials and health officials here … (that) he may not make it to all of Canton, but I think he’s going to make it for a good portion of this.”
Let’s hope he’s right.