Steelers veteran safety Polamalu graces OTAs
Larry Foote had to look twice to see if it was really Troy Polamalu out there for the start of Steelers' organized team activities Tuesday.
During Foote's nearly 10 years with the team, Polamalu has been rarely seen at any nonmandatory offseason workouts.
“Normally during OTAs he is out surfing in the ocean,” Foote said.
Instead, Polamalu was at his first nonmandatory offseason practice in years, and for good reason.
With the loss of a number of key veterans on defense, Mike Tomlin suggested to Polamalu that attending offseason practices might be a good idea this year.
“It's important for as many people as possible to be here because we acknowledge that we're building chemistry and, to a degree, you can't measure it, and it's a significant part of team building,” Tomlin said.
The last time Polamalu took part in OTAs was April 2010, when the Steelers held a short two-day session before the draft. Polamalu did not attend the final 12 sessions spanning May 18 to June 10.
Polamalu pointed toward the loss of James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke and their combined 36 years of experience as one reason he decided to forgo his typical offseason regimen in Southern California with workout guru Marv Marinovich.
“For obvious reasons, we had some major leadership leave, people who we can count on, and I think it is nice for the young guys to see a familiar face,” Polamalu said. “It is nice to be around the team and nice to get out and play some football. I am here to support all my teammates.”
It wasn't limited to the young guys. Veterans were also happy to see Polamalu on the field during this time of year.
“I was very surprised and excited to have him here,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “Troy just needs to be Troy.”
But that might not be good enough this year.
The Steelers desperately want Polamalu to take over more of a vocal leadership role on defense. However, Polamalu said don't expect that to happen.
“I really don't think anybody really steps into those types of roles and gets out of character that's within their own character,” Polamalu said. “Yeah, I am definitely not a vocal leader, if a leader at all.”
“He's always been a vocal leader,” Foote said. “Especially since he's been here this long, everybody is a leader. He talks out there on the field. He is just not loud and you can't see him, but he's talking.”
And for the first time in a couple years, Polamalu is feeling good.
Aside from a couple of nagging day-to-day injuries last year that limited some practice time, Polamalu was healthy.
The 31-year-old played in all 16 regular-season games for only the second time since 2005. He finished the year with 91 tackles but wasn't happy with his overall performance.
“To be honest, every year I ever had was below my standards,” Polamalu said. “I have expectations from myself. I have a lot to improve on … from pass coverage-wise to tackling and run defense. You name it. You spend the entire offseason breaking yourself down and see where you can improve. There is a lot for me to improve.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
- Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
- Inside the Steelers: Roethlisberger strong in goal-line drills
- Steelers notebook: WR Bryant sidelined after minor procedure on right elbow
- Steelers notebook: Officials discuss new game ball procedures
- After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
- Ability to clog the trenches crucial to Steelers defense
- Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
- Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
- Inside the Steelers: QB Jones continues to get majority of snaps
- Inside The Steelers: LB Williams dominates backs-on-backers drill at Latrobe Memorial Stadium