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It's tough to believe Troy Polamalu is 'in best shape since college'

Like that old grill you fire up each spring, hoping it's miraculously transformed back into his immediate post-purchase condition, reports suggesting Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is in the best shape he's been in since college puts a hyperbolic slant on reality.

Gregory Shamus

Excitement and hyperbole go together like steak on your old grill. They're essentially connected, even if one can exist without the other.

Not to accuse Tribune Review reporter Mark Kaboly of hyperbole (if anything, he's usually closer to blase, which is better overall), but his Tweet regarding the physical shape of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu brings out the same feeling as hearing and smelling the grill spark up for the first time each spring.

It sounds great, and I love the thought of it, but it's an old grill, how much do I actually believe it's as great as it used to be, vs. how much do I love the thought of it being as great as it used to be?

Polamalu turned 32 in April, and even with lingering injuries last season, showed himself to be a force in the NFL, when healthy. Perhaps those same nagging injuries create a wave of aftershock that eventually leads to him not being able to train fully; thus not come into the season at full strength.

According to Kaboly, and whomever told him, that won't be an issue for Polamalu as Organized Team Activities get underway in Pittsburgh today.

But the quick wink to former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis - and his long-running and low-tilted In Shape Meter before every season - suggests Kaboly isn't particularly convinced the grill won't fail to live up to the promise of springs of the past.

Certainly, the hope is Polamalu is in outstanding shape, and he has a season more like the ones where his first name is screamed in total disbelief over what just happened on the field as opposed to the beginning of the Steelers weekly injury report, but there's only so much a man can take over the course of a Hall of Fame career.

And suggesting it took him 11 years to replicate the physical condition he was in when he was 21 years old is simple, delicious and difficult-to-swallow hyperbole.