It almost feels like a passing of the torch.
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu backed out of the 2014 Pro Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 26 in Honolulu, due to injury, and he was replaced by up-and-coming Browns safety T.J. Ward, the Browns announced Sunday.
Writes the team about Ward:
Ward registered a career-high 129 tackles and tied a career-high with two interceptions. The 2010 second-round selection added nine passes defensed, 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and two defensive scores. He scored on a 44-yard interception return vs. Buffalo on Oct. 3, and added a 51-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown vs. Chicago on Dec. 15.
Polamalu was selected to his eighth Pro Bowl after a season he played out of position for much of the year. Due to a lack of depth at inside linebacker, Polamalu played inside the box in what was basically a linebacker position over the team's final three quarters of the season.
While it wasn't the best year for the Steelers' defense, Polamalu looked closer to his old form, something the team hasn't seen over the past two years due to injury. With a healthy linebackers group in place for 2014, one of the main storylines for next season will be how Polamalu will play.
That's assuming he's with the team. Polamalu has a $10.55 million cap number for 2014, and the team can save $8 million if they release him. It would seem both sides are motivated to discuss an extension, something aimed to keep Polamalu in Pittsburgh for the remainder of his career.
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