It’s official – no more Head and Shoulders patrolling the Steelers defensive backfield.
Late Thursday night it was made official, Steelers eight-time Pro Bowl and five-time All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu is retiring.
According to a piece by SteelCityInsider.net editor Jim Wexell, Polamalu called Dan Rooney on Thursday night to inform him he was retiring, ending a memorable career all played with the black and gold.
It doesn’t come as a shock that Polamalu is walking away, as he was basically asked by the team to walk away in February.
The safety said that he was trying to figure out his future when this past week it finally hit him it was time to walk away.
“It’s all about family,” said Polamalu in a phone interview with Wexell. “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.”
The face of the franchise, Polamalu leaves the game after 12 seasons, playing in 158 regular-season games, 15 playoff games and three Super Bowls.
He made the memorable game clinching play in the AFC Championship Game in 2008, picking off Joe Falcco and scoring a touchdown and sealed the Steelers trip to Super Bowl XLIII with a 23-14 win over the Ravens.
Polamalu said he never thought about playing in another uniform after the Steelers moved up to draft him in 2003.
“I did not seriously consider playing elsewhere,” Polamalu said. “It was just whether or not I wanted to play. I had talked to a lot of people about what I should do with my situation, and what they kept saying back to me, and which was not a sufficient reason, was ‘Troy, you played 12 years in the NFL, you won Super Bowls, won individual awards. There’s nothing left to prove. You have a legacy.’ And I just kept saying, ‘First of all, I don’t care about a legacy. Second of all, I play the game because I enjoy it.’ That’s the reason to keep playing.
“Like I said, what it came down to was definitely family. If I’m in my fourth year, fifth year, even if I’m in my 10th year, I’m playing in Alaska. But when I started this process and started to debate whether I should come back or should I play, that was kind of the sign for me to say ‘Whoa, if you’re just even debating it maybe you shouldn’t play anymore,’ because what I do know about this game is it takes a lot, a lot, of commitment just to be an average player.”
So long Troy – it was one heck of a ride.