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mesaSteeler
09-21-2010, 12:32 AM
Troy Story: Polamalu back with vengeance
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1424/2010/september/21/troy-story-polamalu-back-with-vengeance/print.html?type=98&cHash=0e0c1dcfe27a4e7fe94cba97c8e83716

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, right, stops Tennessee running back Chris Johnson (28) in the second quarter Sunday. AP photo by Frederick Breedon

PITTSBURGH — In the last week or so, life has been grand for Troy Polamalu.

In the Steelers’ season opener against Atlanta, he made an acrobatic interception.

On Sunday, he thwarted an early Tennessee scoring chance with another pick.

Polamalu, the Steelers’ star strong safety, is delighted that he was able to contribute big plays in two victories. But nothing made him happier than the wonderful event that happened Thursday morning.

On that day, his wife, Theodora, gave birth to the couple’s second son. The newest addition to the Polamalu family has been named Ephraim.

“The baby is more important than anything I do on the football field,” Polamalu said.

There’s no doubt about that, especially for someone so religious, so spiritual and so family-oriented as Polamalu. But in terms of football, the Steelers are thrilled to have Polamalu healthy again and wreAking havoc on opposing defenses.

In the Steelers’ first two games — wins of 15-9 in overtime over the Falcons and 19-11 over the Titans — the defense has been spectacular.

That may be because Polamalu and Aaron Smith are back after each missing 11 games last season with injuries.

Smith, a defensive end who has recovered from a rotator cuff injury, looks like a young buck. He’s 34, but playing with the passion of a 24-year-old.

Smith’s backup is Ziggy Hood, a first-round draft pick last year who could start for most teams in the league. But with the way Smith has played, Hood may find it hard to get the playing time he wants.

Polamalu, too, looks like he did two years ago when he earned his fifth straight Pro Bowl trip.

He hasn’t any problems with his knee that was sprained twice last year. He’s roaming around on defense, sometimes lining up deep in the secondary or other times close to the line of scrimmage. But even as the ball is snapped, opposing offenses have no idea where Polamalu will wind up and what he might do. That unpredictability, along with his amazing athletic talent, make him a special player.

Last year, Polamalu only played in three full games. In two other starts, he left early when his knee was injured.

But counting those five starts last year, he’s intercepted a pass in five of the last seven games he’s played.

After two weeks this year, he’s one of nine defensive backs tied for the NFL interceptions lead.

Yet, when asked about his play, Polamalu always deflects any personal credit. He attributes everything he does to overall schemes of the defense.

“We try to put each other in the best positions to make plays,” he said. “It takes 11 guys on pass defense, just like it takes 11 guys on run defense. We all make plays.”

Polamalu is right about that. A number of Steeler defenders have made big plays in the first two games. But he’s certainly one of them.

For years now, it’s been said that it’s Polamalu who is the most valuable player on the Steelers’ defense. In the first two games, he’s done nothing to debunk that theory.

smokeykurt
09-21-2010, 03:35 AM
I'm still kinda worried he might injure himself again...lets hope to hell that doesnt happen. Hes such a down to earth guy, and amazing player