Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers
“The greatest thing for me football-wise is it’s a test of will. It’s not exactly playing the game against the opponent. It’s playing the game within yourself. The fears of making a mistake, the fears of getting injured. When you overcome those obstacles within the game, that’s when you become a better man.”
The premier safety of his era, Troy Polamalu played his entire 12-year professional football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A two-time All-American out of the University of Southern California, Polamalu was drafted in the first round, 16th player overall, of the 2003 National Football League Draft. He quickly earned his nickname, “the Tasmanian Devil,” given to him by his fellow teammates for his range, explosiveness and impact on the field.
He had a strong performance in the 2008 AFC Championship Game with a 40-yard pick-six late in the game to propel the Steelers to a Super Bowl title. Polamalu added to three tackles, one assist, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed.
During his storied tenure, Polamalu was a defensive leader who guided the Steelers to seven playoff appearances in 12 years, five division titles, and them win two of their three Super Bowl appearances – XL and XLIII. The 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, Polamalu recorded seven interceptions for one TD, a sack and 63 tackles for the season.
Polamalu was selected to eight Pro Bowls, received First Team All-Pro honors four times, Second-Team All-Pro twice, and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week seven times throughout his illustrious career. He is a member of the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s and the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team. He started 142 of 158 career games; made 32 interceptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns; recorded 107 passes defensed; forced 14 fumbles; recovered seven fumbles for 120 yards and two TDs; made 12 sacks; and recorded 783 tackles – 583 of which were solo tackles.
As dangerous as Polamalu was on the field, he was just as well-known for his mild-mannered and kind-hearted demeaner off the field. Polamalu was the 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year – an accolade he earned for his service work.