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Steelers vs. Giants: If Troy Polamalu plays Saturday, it will be his first contact of the year

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No live drills for Polamalu, likely saving the Steelers' safety for the season. Besides, there's plenty of hitting for Shamarko Thomas.

Jonathan Daniel

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday he wants to see more guys trying to thrive as opposed to just survive. It was, by some accounts, a sloppy practice, the second-to-last full one before the Steelers take on the New York Giants in their first preseason game.

Depending on how much Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu participates in that game, it may be his first live contact this summer.

Writes Alan Robinson of the Tribune Review:

For the first time this year, the Steelers didn't live tackle during the first team drill of the day thus allowing Troy Polamalu to participate. Polamalu has yet to take part in any live drills. The second team was instructed by Mike Tomlin to tackle.

Tomlin has held Polamalu out of all the team's contact drills - perhaps saving the hitting end of the safety positions to second-year Shamarko Thomas, who's been nothing short of a ton of contact so far.

Keeping the veteran Polamalu on the skids while the deeper roster safeties engage in contact is probably a smart move. Polamalu's been hitting guys since Thomas was born, and it isn't a question of age as much as it is about limited returns. Polamalu knows how to prepare himself for a season, and isn't as adept at shying away from contact.

They managed to get 16 games from Polamalu last season with much of that time being spent at something of an inside linebacker position. No sense pushing their luck now. Not for a preseason game in which unchallenged veterans like Polamalu might play five snaps.