The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history, and the reference isn’t solely to the number of Lombardi trophies the team has on display in their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Rather, the wealth of riches the team has experienced through the years could be a direct correlation to the players who have donned the black-and-gold and gone on to be members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One of those players who most recently received a gold jacket was none other than Troy Polamalu. Polamalu doesn’t go into the public eye often, but was back in Pittsburgh this past weekend to be both honored and roasted by former teammates and other Steelers legends.
The event benefits the Mel Blount Youth Leadership Initiative, a program that helps kids grow, learn, develop and become productive citizens.
“He’s one of the greatest all-time Steelers,” said Blount. “He brings out the true spirit of Steelers Nation and the love the fans and the community have for a player. Troy’s reserved, he’s quiet, unassuming. We think he’s a special person. His humility. He’s a humble guy. Great family guy. Just a good person.
“And, I think he embodies what a Steelers legend is all about.”
For Polamalu, he was honored to receive the invitation and to be able to help the former All-Pro defensive back and his youth initiative.
“Mel has always been a staple for anyone who has played for the Steelers,” said Polamalu. “His involvement with our organization has continued and his presence is awesome. It’s humbling because to play a position at his size, and to have the Super Bowl rings and the rules that catered to him, or rather everybody else, is awesome. I think most importantly it really is the soul of what it is to be a Steeler. For somebody to continue to be here, continue to always give back. I think that is one of the most important things. Everybody who has become a Pittsburgh Steeler continues to give back. It’s a cultural thing that you learn when you come to Pittsburgh. It’s really important to give back, to have a continual presence while giving back.”
For Polamalu, being the center of attention has always been difficult at times. He loves being around the guys, but not necessarily the one everyone is looking at.
“I never thought I would be in this position,” said Polamalu. “And I never want to be at a roast being roasted. It’s even going to be more humbling.
“I love being around the guys. I really do. I never like to be the center of attention. I like to be around them and watch all of their personalities come out.”
Some of the players who took part in the event were: Joey Porter, Brett Keisel, James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, Ike Taylor, Jerome Bettis, Casey Hampton, “Mean” Joe Greene, Donnie Shell, Bill Cowher, Art Rooney II, and, of course, Mel Blount among many others.
This is the first event Blount has held since 2020, and he spoke about how meaningful it is to be able to have this event in-person once again to help pay for scholarship and other aspects of what his youth initiative does on a yearly basis. It was good to get back to the event, but also great to see Troy Polamalu being honored once again.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.