Yahoo Sports's Jim Cole sat down with Troy Polamalu for a brief chat after Sunday's game to talk about life away from football, his mid-week routine, and the importance of football in his life. Here's a few snippets from the brief, yet somewhat candid interview:
Cole: Do you have a routine you follow on your day off?
Troy:We work out together because that's our only day off together. It's a pretty decent workout. She (his wife) does a lot of running and I do a lot of stretching. Tuesday is also our only opportunity to go to church together, so we do that.
Cole: Do you have any other hobbies or things you do away from the field? Maybe bowling?
Troy: No, not really. The single guys go bowl. The guys who are married go home, mostly. I really focus on spending time with my wife.
Cole: How hard is it to get time at home during the season? I know guys like (Miami Dolphins linebacker) Zach Thomas stay at the facility until very late studying film and (Indianapolis Colts quarterback) Peyton Manning is watching film at home.
Troy: First of all, I'm a Christian so my prayer life really comes first. Second of all, I'm a husband so my wife comes before anything else. If I have time to do anything else after that, I do it, but I don't sacrifice any time with her.
Cole: So football is a really focused activity. There's no wasted time, right?
Troy: Actually, it's a lot of fun and it's something I enjoy. It's not like when I'm here it's business time and then there's family time. Football is, for me, it's something I do. It's like for you, you're a reporter. It's what you do, not who you are. Football does not define me. How I am with my faith and how I treat my wife is what truly defines you as a man. That is my goal in life to live that way and believe in it. It would be cowardly of me to say that I enjoy my time with my faith and my wife if I really didn't spend that time with them.
It's the last quote from Polamalu that interests me. Some might wonder if a player who's main purpose in life seems to rest outside of football would have the drive necessary to be an elite player. Guys like Peyton Manning and Zach Thomas are future Hall of Famers (perhaps not Thomas, but regardless he's All-Pro most years despite being undersized) for a reason: they live, sleep, and breath football. Troy may not play into his mid to late '30s because of his outside interests, but I'm not concerned about him not being 100% committed to himself and the team while he is still playing.
The chat also makes me wonder if Polamalu will be a Steeler for life. He sure doesn't seem like the type of guy who needs the excessive riches that come with testing the free-agent market, and he certainly doesn't seem like the type who needs a mega-contract to validate his sense of self-worth and to inflate his ego.
He's a special player and a seemingly special person that plenty of players could learn from, both on and off the field. Surprise, surprise, the Rooneys recognized this and did what was necessary to lock him up longterm.