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Old 07-11-2010, 04:53 AM   #1
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Default Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

The first thing you notice when talking with Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu(notes) is that his off-field demeanor couldn't be any more different than the makeup of the scud missile you see on game day. Face-to-face, Polamalu is so soft-spoken, one has to push the microphone closer when interviewing him, and he's far more comfortable talking about others than himself.

This week, his first focus wasn't on the knee that is recovering well after costing him 11 games in 2009 (the most in a single season in his seven-year career), nor was it the legal travails of one Ben Roethlisberger(notes). Polamalu was fully about helping to coach and advise the Zoom Blade team from Orlando, Florida in the national 7-on-7 tournament. Polamalu went to high school at Douglas High in Winston, Oregon, about 170 miles south of the games played this week. Polamalu played safety and running back, made All-State in baseball, and All-League in basketball, and had warm memories about his time there.

"It was a small town," Polamalu told me. "I loved how everyone went to school together from kindergarten to the 12th grade; everybody knew each other. I loved that everybody played every sport, and I think those experiences are lost nowadays."

From Douglas High, the heavily recruited Polamalu went to USC, where he learned a great deal from head coach Pete Carroll. But Polamalu didn't see the "rah-rah" side to Carroll that everyone else talks about. To him, "it was more that you loved him as an individual, and you wanted to make him happy, and that's where the motivation was. He was great to play under in college - an awesome coach and a great person. It's going to be weird seeing him on something other than cardinal and gold [team colors], though."

As much as Carroll had an effect on him, there's no question who Polamalu's favorite coach is - to ask him about Steelers defensive coordinator [and long-overdue Hall-of-Famer] Dick LeBeau is to understand just how much a coach can mean to a player. How did it make Polamalu feel to know that LeBeau was finally getting his due as one of the greatest defensive coordinators of all time?

"There's no question that he is the greatest coach of all time," Polamalu said, sounding as definite as a very soft-spoken guy can be, "and there's no question to me that he is the epitome of what a Hall-of-Famer should be. You're talking about a guy who played in the NFL and was very successful, with 63 interceptions - he reminds us of that all the time (laughs). He had the most consecutive starts at cornerback - over 100 games. He's been a special-teams coach, a coordinator, and a head coach. He's been part of the game longer than anybody who didn't own a team. So, to me, he's the most deserving guy ever, and the Hall of Fame people are lucky to have him as part of it."

Part of the value of that relationship is LeBeau's ability to take Polamalu's specific skills and move him into every kind of defensive set imaginable - from playing center field against the deep ball, to kamikaze blitzes from just about anywhere. "It's a level of trust, communication and understanding, most importantly, That's the relationship that Coach LeBeau and I have."

Of course, I had to ask him about Roethlisberger, and the four-to-six game suspension that the quarterback faces. One thing Polamalu wanted very much to impart to those who are worried about the 2010 Steelers as a result of all the off-season turmoil is his resolve to see things right.

"One thing that's been kind of a good experience for us is that we've won games without Ben; people don't seem to understand that;" Polamalu said. The Steelers have a 5-4 record in the nine regular season games in which Roethlisberger has not played since his 2004 rookie season. "He's missed quite a few games in the NFL, and we've done well because our defense understands that we need to apply that much more pressure. I think that this will be no different in that way, the only thing that's different is the publicity that's brought to the subject. There's no question that we can't win a championship without Ben, but there's also no question that we can win games without star players."

Polamalu said that his knee is holding up well after surgery to repair the torn PCL that cost him so much of the 2009 season; he seems ready for training camp and one of the Steelers' most interesting seasons in recent memory. If he's healthy, there's no question that Troy Polamalu will be a bastion of consistency in an uncertain environment
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

NIce one !
"...still waters run deep..."
;)
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

I have to question some of the stuff that Polamalu has been saying to the press lately....maybe they have been mis-quoting him or quoting out of context (as the press is known to do quite often)? Polamalu is the LAST guy on the team I would expect to have caught a recent case of "oral diarrhea when faced with the press", but...

* He says we need to get back to "pounding the rock" for our defense to re-gain its dominance, suggesting that the Steeler's offense didn't do its part last year to help out the defense. However, the Steeler's offense in 2009 ranked #4 in the league as far as time of possession.

* He said this about Big Ben: "He's missed quite a few games in the NFL, and we've done well because our defense understands that we need to apply that much more pressure." Really, Troy? 9 games in 6 seasons is "quite a bit of time"? What does Troy call his absences then (11 games last year, 5 or 6 games in 2007, 3 games in 2006) if missing 9 games in 6 seasons is 'missing quite a few games'?
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

Great article otherwise. Nice to see the guys making a difference in communities.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

^^exactly, troy is the one who needs to stay healthy. he is my favorite steeler when healthy but if he gets another major injury this year and misses significant playing time were going to have to find his replacement asap. our corners are mediocre at best so we need a great corner like troy(when healthy) to really help with passing plays
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanata-Steeler View Post
NIce one !
"...still waters run deep..."
;)

That is the river..........

Out here in the sea all waters run deep.......Calm waters, and crazy huge swells........
Both deep..........
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

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Originally Posted by pete74 View Post
^^exactly, troy is the one who needs to stay healthy. he is my favorite steeler when healthy but if he gets another major injury this year and misses significant playing time were going to have to find his replacement asap. our corners are mediocre at best so we need a great corner like troy(when healthy) to really help with passing plays
He just gotta quit coming up and hitting the huge tight ends like he does the backs and receivers.......Some of them are 100 pounds heavier......It is just physics......
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Troy Polamalu runs silent and deep

agreed. its unfortunate but Saftey's like troy will always have injuries. if he tried to avoid them by hitting so hard then he wouldnt be the great DB we all love. i would love to see us get some better corners so were not so dependent on troy to stop the deep ball
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