Polamalu next to exit?

By DavidVanDeveer
Mar. 10, 2015

Troy Polamalu
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

You have seen him before flying through the air with the greatest of ease and his luxurious hair flowing in the breeze. But will Troy Polamalu return in 2015 wearing the Black and Gold? Right now, even he is not sure.

The veteran strong safety from the University of Southern California has played 12 years for the Steelers. Polamalu has been to the Pro Bowl 8 times, won 3 AFC Championships, was AFC defensive player of the year in 2010 and won 2 Super Bowls. The Steelers do not seem eager to re-sign the veteran safety based on the Steelers GM's statement on March 9, 2015 saying there was no update on Polamalu's status and said the Steelers would continue to speak with his representation.

Polamalu will be 34 in April and has experienced injury problems in the last few years which may be one of the leading concerns for the Steelers. Another concern for the Steelers is how "to get out from under his $8.25 million cap number this year. If the Steelers release him with a post-June 1 designation, it would save the team $6 million off the salary cap. If Polamalu decides to retire, Steelers could fight to regain a prorated portion of Polamalu's signing bonus of $6.75 million ($4.5 million of which they could recover)" (http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/7902668-74/polamalu-steelers-million#axzz3Tz8bBQJw).

Football is a game where retirement is common place for men in their 30's. At the end of the 2012 season James Harrison was not re-signed by the Steelers because of his age and injuries but that did not stop him from going to Cincinnati for a year. James Harrison retired last summer. However, he was called back to action at 36 years old due to an injured prone Steelers defense in 2014 and had one of his best seasons. If the Steelers release Polamalu he may consider playing somewhere else but who is to say that he would not return to Pittsburgh like Harrison did and be revitalized.

2014 was not one of Troy's best years. You could see he was not getting to the ball as quickly as he once did. He loves Pittsburgh and its fans but the Steelers do not want to see him get seriously injured. The question is will he return next year either in a Steelers uniform or somewhere else? With 770 career tackles, 12 quarterback sacks, 32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and 3 touchdowns (www.nfl.com) it is hard to believe Polamalu would retire from the game.

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