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An important history lesson for you TRUE Steelers fans!

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Old 08-01-2006, 08:58 AM   #1
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Default Troy The Zen Master

Polamalu's unique spirit uplifting for Steelers, fans
Tuesday, August 01, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Citizens of Western Pennsylvania already know the Steelers can lift spirits, but can these Super Bowl champions save lives?

All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu, speaking in the type of calming tones of a Benedictine monk on the Saint Vincent College campus in Latrobe, proclaimed yesterday that Steelers indeed not only can save lives but they do. He has seen it, and not the kind where they use the Heimlich Maneuver.

Merely walking into a room where a Steelers fan is on his death bed can improve the health of that person, Polamalu said, and it's an uplifting experience.

"You can truly save people's lives like that," Polamalu said. "I've been in situations where people are at home and getting ready to die, doctors have given up on them, you know?"

But after a visit by Polamalu, he has seen the deathly ill improve to the point where "they've been living for, like, three, four months already.

"It's really beautiful in that way that you can affect people. In some ways, football is life here in Pittsburgh, it's their only hope. It's cool to affect people in that way."

By now, most Steelers fans -- in various stages of physical health -- know that Polamalu thinks, talks, trains and plays differently than the average pro football player. He's a California native, but that doesn't fully explain it. His approach to football and life follow on a different path than most athletes, and he's not afraid to express himself.

He refrains from lifting weights for the most part and he has ridiculed the NFL training camp routines along with one of the league's major corporate sponsors, Gatorade. He swiped again at the drink yesterday saying that the Steelers training staff does not give him any guidelines "besides spreading their Gatorade propaganda."

Polamalu may be the best Steelers defensive back since Rod Woodson and he's definitely the most unique with his long hair covering the name on the back of his jersey, and the extraordinary way he plays the position of strong safety, one that landed him in the past two Pro Bowls.

One more unique thing to him: Here is a Californian who prefers to live in Pittsburgh (he prefers Troy Hill over Nob Hill). He and his wife, Theodora, spent all summer at their North Hills home, venturing only on one three-day trip to California. It does not all have to do with the hills and rivers here, although he enjoys the fly-fishing. He derives much of his pleasure within the confines of the Steelers' UPMC facility on the South Side and at Heinz Field.

"I told my wife, around my second year, that there's no better place to be than here in Pittsburgh," said Polamalu, starting his fourth training camp. "That's one thing Pittsburgh has over everybody else is this camaraderie of this team and the great coaching situation, how coach Cowher takes care of you, the training staff and the ownership."

The popularity of Steelers players -- with him among a handful of the most admired -- does have its drawbacks.

"It's pretty hard to go out here without getting hassled too much," Polamalu said. "When I go out in California, people could care less, even if you're a Tom Cruise, unless you're a paparazzi. And, they don't follow football. They're not a big fan of football like they are out here.

"It stinks in a way if you're eating dinner and people are bothering you, but it's beautiful in a way when you have a kid who has only five days to live and the biggest thing in his life is wanting to meet a Steeler. That's where it's positive. It's happened to me a few times and it's really awesome to affect people's lives."

His own was affected on the field when free safety Chris Hope, a fellow 2002 draft choice, left as a free agent in March.

"We went through scout team together my rookie year and breaking into the starting lineup, so we learned everything together and won a Super Bowl together," Polamalu said.

"We got to a point where Chris and I didn't even have to talk. I got to do what I do and he just reacted to it. To form that type of relationship is tough, being how different a safety that I am. You really can't practice at it unless you're on the field playing 11 on 11 or in these preseason games."

A trio of players will compete to join him in the defensive backfield: Tyrone Carter, Ryan Clark, and rookie Anthony Smith. Whoever it is can expect Polamalu to pursue the same kind of style that has turned him into a linchpin of the Steelers' defense, something fans -- in good health and poor -- can appreciate.

"I feel I approach what I do and my living as a football player the way they do, in this blue-collar mentality," Polamalu said. "That's a term thrown around a lot, but to say it and live it and to experience it -- even though it's a high-paying job like a football player -- it's no different to a hard-paying construction worker, a landscaper. It's a blue-collar mentality."
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Also, last night on Sports Beat, Troy Polamalu denied all reports of him not resigning when his contract is up with the Steelers in order to play on the west coast. He stated the total opposite actually. He wants to be a Steeler as long as possible.
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

What an incredibly heartwarming story! I know first-hand what Troy is saying is completely true, as for the last several years, I have been volunteering twice a month at a local hospital reading to terminally ill children and have personally met and witnessed many Steelers, Pirates and Penguins players who visit these children, spend hours playing with them, reading to them, even holding them. You would not believe the powerful positive impact it has on these kids and how that experience can prolong their lives even if for just a little while. Kudos to Troy and all of the other professional athletes who reach into their big hearts to give a part of themselves to these children!
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Troy is so freakin cool......


He is the antithesis of the modern day millionaire athelete...humble....softspoken...spiritual...what a breath of fresh air he is!!!

We are so lucky to have him...I know the Rooneys will take care of him...

Troy Polamalu...Steeler for life!!!!!
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43
Also, last night on Sports Beat, Troy Polamalu denied all reports of him not resigning when his contract is up with the Steelers in order to play on the west coast. He stated the total opposite actually. He wants to be a Steeler as long as possible.
Troy may be the exception to the rule, but IMO every pro athlete says they want to stay with their current team until they sign with someone else. It is all about the $$$.

Does Troy's contract run out at the end of the 2007 season? If so, we hopefully will not be very nervous this time next year, since I do not recall any Steeler unrestricted FA staying if a new contract was not signed prior to the start of the regular season for their last contract year (tick-tock/tick-tock on Ike Taylor right now)

Signing Troy and Ben probably is going to require cutbacks somewhere else. Hope it will not be the O-Line.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Troy is the man. Hopefully he keeps that same mind set when it comes time to extend his contract.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Interesting......very interesting indeed.

It seems as though the Steelers have been able to capture an almost collegiate enviroment in their locker room where players feel like they're part of a team rather than just part of a bsuiness. It's very telling that someone like Troy would rather stay in Pittsburgh than live in LA during the off season.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Not to mention that Troy has discovered the power of the Steeler Force:

"Merely walking into a room where a Steelers fan is on his death bed can improve the health of that person, Polamalu said, and it's an uplifting experience.

"You can truly save people's lives like that," Polamalu said. "I've been in situations where people are at home and getting ready to die, doctors have given up on them, you know?"

But after a visit by Polamalu, he has seen the deathly ill improve to the point where "they've been living for, like, three, four months already."


So I guess we can start wearing bracelets that ask WWTD? (What Would Troy Do?) :)
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Old 08-01-2006, 04:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan
Troy may be the exception to the rule, but IMO every pro athlete says they want to stay with their current team until they sign with someone else. It is all about the $$$.
I'm not disagreeing with you there. Hell, if I was Troy Polamalu and knowing I'm the best safety in the NFL, I would want top dollar as well. But his reponse was directed at the rumors going around the net stating that he intends to leave the Steelers (no what the Steelers offer) simply because he wants to play on the west coast which is comforting to know. Shooting down a rumor.
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Old 08-01-2006, 04:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Troy The Zen Master

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackNGold203
Troy is so freakin cool......


He is the antithesis of the modern day millionaire athelete...humble....softspoken...spiritual...what a breath of fresh air he is!!!

We are so lucky to have him...I know the Rooneys will take care of him...

Troy Polamalu...Steeler for life!!!!!

Hear, here! I hope and pray Troy stays with the Steelers for his entire career!
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