Why There Will Never Be Another NFL Player Like Troy Polamalu Again
After two Super Bowl championships, eight Pro Bowl appearances and 12 incredible seasons all with the Pittsburgh Steelers, legendary safety Troy Polamalu officially retired at the age of 33.
He played in 158 games, caught 32 interceptions and was known for doing freakish plays like this every Sunday.
But, looking at the stat sheet doesn't truly explain the impact Polamalu had on the Steelers' success this past decade.
His game on the field always spoke for itself, but it was his humble and spiritual outlook on life that inspired so many people and turned him into a fan favorite league-wide.
Plus, he had the most marketable hair in sports!
Sure, the popular opinion is the team wanted him to leave and get younger (and healthier) at the position.
But really, it was more like fate calling Troy's name.
In an interview with Steel City Insider, Polamalu explained the significance of his decision, saying,
Thirty-three is obviously significant because of Christ being 33; and 12 years, 12 apostles. I'm not superstitious by any means but I always thought that if I played 12 years and retire from football at 33 and give my life and give my body and give my blood to this game, I think that would be a pretty significant landmark in my life.
Like many Polynesian football players, Polamalu found success in his amazing instincts, warrior-like intensity and strong faith.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he said,
All of my Polynesian counterparts in the NFL with roots in American Samoa understand how the values embedded in our South Pacific culture — community, hard work, perseverance, respect — contribute directly to our success.
Troy was special for so many reasons, and the thought he won't be suiting up next season is pretty depressing.
We hear so much about athletes using faith as a crutch, but none were more in touch with that than Polamalu. His respect for the game and everyone around him and is something you just can't fake.
He's extremely philanthropic and makes sure to visit American Samoa regularly and gives back to a community in need of a hero.
He even made his final decision to retire while at church this week, according to Steel City Insider.
In the end, it was the importance of family that was the main factor. He said,
It's all about family. I live here in Pittsburgh now, and since the end of the season I've had a chance to enjoy my family on a level I never had before. It was awesome.
When people talk about the greatest safeties of this generation, Ed Reed's name might come up before Troy's does.
But, the truth is there will be another Ed Reed. Never again will there be a Troy Polamalu.