By: Caleb Luketic
The Pittsburgh Steelers are doing the exact same thing that they did with Hines Ward, giving a fan favorite two options. The first being to take the honorable road and retire as a Steeler, and the second being, if you want to continue to play, it will not be in Pittsburgh. Troy Polamalu is 33 years old and has been one of the most dynamic defensive players of this generation. He has made crazy plays that we all know. One being his signature jump over the line and tackling the quarterback in mid-air. Troy is a fan favorite in Pittsburgh, but the Steelers see the need to cut him because of a few reasons.
Troy is 33, and in the football world, that is up there in age. His contract is an $8.25 million cap hit against the Steelers for the 2015 season. If the Steelers cut Polamalu it will free up $6 million in cap space, which will allow them to spend some extra $$$ in free agency. Unfortunately, football is a business and having an $8.25 million starter who isn’t what he once was or a backup is not worth it for sentimental reasons. I love Polamalu, but he has wear and tear on his body. Polamalu will not be the same player he once was, but i think that he just needs to do the same thing Rod Woodson did and reinvent himself.
Polamalu’s agent has said that Troy hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not he wants to retire. If Polamalu retires, he will go out as one of the best Steelers in franchise history and a Hall of Famer. If he continues to play, Polamalu will still be one of the best Steelers in franchise history and still a sure Hall of Fame candidate. No matter what Troy does, he will still be one of the most beloved players in Pittsburgh.
Troy Polamalu is known for his uncanny ability to sniff out what the offense is going to do, and making crazy acrobatic plays in the process. But at 33, Polamalu cannot make those crazy acrobatic plays anymore. If Polamalu wants to continue to play, he just needs to reinvent himself as a player. Instead of being that ball hawking safety he once was, he needs to just play within himself and the system. He doesn’t need to try to make crazy plays anymore, he just needs to do his job and let everyone else do theirs.
The Steelers would not be willing to keep the veteran safety because of his cap hit of $8.25 million this season. However, i do think that Troy has a few seasons left in his tank if he reinvents himself into being a player who plays within himself. Polamalu may try to follow Lebeau down to Tennessee, but I don’t think that that is the best move for Polamalu to make. It will be extremely sad to not see #43 run out of the tunnel onto the field, and it will be weird not seeing him making crazy, acrobatic plays on the field. Troy Polamalu will always be one of my favorite players, and to me, he will always be a Pittsburgh Steeler.