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Troy Polamalu is a captain and was a captain before he was given the distinction

No one can question Troy Polamalu's track record. The question is how will he lead the Steelers' young starting defense. He's not going to change who he is, as he said in a recent interview with the team's web site. He shouldn't change a thing.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The best captains are the ones who provide the best quotes.

Actually, that statement may not be true, but Troy Polamalu always finds a unique way to cut through the typical rhetoric and find the meat of the situation. As he told writer Teresa Varley, upon being appointed one of four captains on this year's Steelers team:

"It's best to represent the team when you are walking out for the coin toss at the Super Bowl. Those are the best captains that have graced this locker room."

He mentioned past captains, such as Joey Porter, Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis, Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith, all of whom made that memorable walk from Super Bowl sideline to Super Bowl midfield to listen to the marketed comments about the coin itself. I couldn't tell you the results of those three coin tosses or the percentages of wins for each respective captain (although I do know of the confusion between Bettis and Carnell Lake).

All during that time, Polamalu was on the field as a captain without the "C" on his metaphorical sweater. Although never voted as a captain, he clearly has been a leader of this franchise. But with the team tending to go with, at most, two captains for each respective phase of the game, and having the players Polamalu mentioned as past captains, it's understandable why Polamalu may not have had the distinction until this, his 11th NFL season.

On one hand, you wouldn't think he's the vocal kind of leader, one of the common characteristics of a captain. If that's your thought, let me direct you to the Steelers' third preseason game when Polamalu hijacked a spontaneous defensive scrum huddled together by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Polamalu appeared more animated during that than he did after his Super Bowl-clinching interception return against Baltimore in 2009.

Just a might angrier too.

"It's a tremendous honor, but I'm not going to change who I am from day-to-day," Polamalu told Varley. "The best captains are people who prepare the best they can to play well on the football field. That has always been my focus and I don't think it's going to change."

Certainly, no one wants Polamalu to change. Perhaps a few of his teammates voted for him because they were in on the huddle in Philadelphia and are now harboring feelings of fear about not following Polamalu's lead. I write this tongue-in-cheek, but only partially.

Leaders inspire, and Polamalu has done that for more than a decade. The fact he's a captain now just proves to a young defense his role on the team. He's there to chew them out when they need it (which they did). He's there to scuffle and tussle with opponents like he did against Buffalo in this preseason. It's almost as if he was gunning for a captaincy (again, tongue-in-cheek).

If Polamalu is caught on camera displaying that emotion a bit more often than usual, then so be it. The point is, he shouldn't change a bit; not one iota. If anything, as captain, he should be filling that emotional firebrand role.

He should be Troy.