Coming in at 19 last season, Polamalu fell to 91 this year, mostly due to the fact he missed nine games in 2012.
Perhaps something like that is in the cards for Polamalu, who turned 32 in April. He's preparing to play his 11th season in the NFL, and has been named to the AFC's Pro Bowl team in seven of those seasons. He's been named to the All Pro team five times, and was named to the NFL's All Decade team for the 2000s.
It was that nagging calf injury last year. He suffered it during the Steelers' Week 1 loss at Denver, causing Polamalu to miss the next two games. He came back against Philadelphia in Week 5 (after a Week 4 bye) and tweaked it again in the first quarter. He was out through the team's next seven games, returning for the Steelers' 23-20 win over Baltimore in Week 13. He got an interception in Week 17, extending his seasons with at least one pick streak to five.
As the video on NFL.com points out, the last time Polamalu missed extensive time in a season, 2009, he rebounded to become the league's Defensive Player of the Year. He also missed extensive time in 2007, and returned to All Pro form in 2008. Perhaps 2013 will be another huge year for Polamalu, but age has to legitimately considered an issue now for the sure-fire Hall of Fame player.
The Steelers drafted potential replacement Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. While the position certainly is Polamalu's this year, salary cap concerns and Polamalu's age create a fair question as to whether Polamalu will be back in 2014.
As for now, here's to hoping the Steelers can get another big year out of Polamalu.