It’s been a few days now. The dust is finally starting to settle. The realization that Troy Polamalu, a surefire Hall-of-Famer, will no longer suit up on Sundays is becoming very clear. The 8-time Pro Bowler has undoubtedly made his mark on the Steelers and their worldwide fan base. His former teammates are now starting to speak to Pittsburgh media to reflect on the impact Polamalu left on the Steelers and the NFL.
Ryan Clark, former Steeler and current NFL analyst for ESPN, spoke to KDKA 93-7’s Bob Pompeani over the weekend to share his thoughts on his former fellow safety. "There won’t be another one," Clark said. He said that he believed that would be what, "separates him and makes the most special guy who ever played the position." Clark mentioned that not only was Polamalu "the face of the defense" but he was the "face of the team." as well.
Newly re-signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also spoke to 93-7 over the weekend, this time with The Cook and Poni Show. Ben reflected on the, "tremendous athlete," that Polamalu was, but felt that the trait we should remember more than the rest is, "how great of a father," he is. Roethlisberger shared in our sadness mentioning that, "it’s like a funeral, it’s a sad day." Ben added that, "as a teammate and a brother, he will be dearly missed."
Former Steelers defensive coordinator and new Titans associate head coach, Dick LeBeau, also gave some word to 93-7 and the Starkey and Mueller Show this weekend. LeBeau of course spoke about the incredible athleticism we were accustomed to seeing. LeBeau said, "we tried to design defenses that gave him the freedom to create." He added that Polamalu, "was a rare, rare player" and "the best safety he’s ever seen".
While Troy has been marveled for his on the field heroics, LeBeau also wanted to touch on his even more impressive off-the-field contributions. "He was truly a role model," he said. LeBeau mentioned Polamalu’s philanthropy efforts, specifically his frequent visits to the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. LeBeau said that, "there wasn’t a week that went past that Troy didn’t stop". Finally, with what may be the finest quote of the weekend, LeBeau said that, "with all the greatness that he was on the field, he was probably greater off the field."
Polamalu was not only a legend to the fans, he was a brother to his Steelers teammates. He is truly irreplaceable on the field and especially off the field.