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Troy Polamalu Retires

It's nice to see a future Hall of Famer understand that his body doesn't have much left and hang it up rather than go on one of those late-career tours playing a season for another team or two and getting cut by some random team before the season two years too late. I found it particularly interesting that Polamalu's decision was in part inspired by his Christian faith because it is Greek Orthodox Holy Week. You don't hear a lot about famous Greek Orthodox Christians, especially those who aren't actually of Greek descent. Anyway, I look forward to seeing those curls fall over the shoulders of a nice yellow Hall of Fame jacket, probably sometime around 2022 or so.

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80 comments, Last at 20 Apr 2015, 9:58am

1 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

We will never see the likes of Troy Polamalu again. He was truly a unique player.

We'll have to wait and see if the retirement sticks, but I wonder, are there any other Hall of Famers who played their entire career for one coordinator?

4 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Polamalu was drafted in 2003 when Tim Lewis was the Steelers defensive co-ordinator.

LeBeau returned to the Steelers in 2004 (having been assistant HC in Buffalo in 2003).

2 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Well technically any HOFers who played before the mid
1950s for the same HC had the same DC since separate
coordinators didn't exist.
______
Was wr

3 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

The 2000s had a great generation of safeties, with Ed Reed, Polamalu, Brian Dawkins, John Lynch and even Bob Sanders and (sadly) Sean Taylor. I understand that it’s now harder to be a good safety (I’m pretty sure that Roy Williams would have been a disaster in today’s NFL for example and not a Pro Bowler) but still, apart from Earl Thomas and maybe Kam Chancellor, who is at the level of those guys now?

5 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I'm curious to see if Eric Berry can come back from his lymphoma treatment. He was looking to be about the equal of Thomas before he was injured last year.

6 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I'd add Adrian Wilson to that list.

I think that with the sad loss of Sean Taylor, the last one of a generation turned off the lights.
With the new rules, you just don't see guys like that who receivers legitimately fear.
I still can not watch a Redskins game and not think about 'what could have been' with Sean Taylor.

Polamalu was an absolute special player, one you won't see many of. He could do it all it seemed. Play deep, blitz, cover the flat... he was one-of-a-kind.
He made watching the Steelers is always a fun exercise.
Sure, as a Steelers fan I also think he played one or two years too many, but with no one ready behind him, I really can't blame him.

8 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Wilson probably gets grouped with Bob Sanders, just a notch below Dawkins, Lynch, Polamalu, and Reed. Their careers just weren't long enough to be in the same class.

It really would've been interesting to see how Taylor's career continued. He was the only safety I've seen besides Dawkins who seemed to be able to force fumbles pretty regularly with hits.

I'm not sure that the rules are really preventing top-notch safeties: we didn't have the same class of safeties in the 90s, either.

12 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Sean Taylor played way to short, but Adrian Wilson played 12 seasons for the Cardinals before going off to a stint with the Patriots and Bears.

With Sean Taylor, the Redskins wouldn't have a revolving door at free safety, instead have a Hall Of Fame player in the back who makes everyone's life on defense easier.

14 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

IMO Polamalu and Reed were in a class of their own, closely followed by Dawkins. Wilson, Lynch, and Sanders were nice players, but not in the same stratosphere as Polamalu and Reed.

21 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I think Rodney Harrison was a pretty good player, I guess a bit older. It'll be interesting to see how Devin McCourty's career pans out, but otherwise agreed, the Seattle safeties more or less define the current position and there aren't many other players in the discussion.

28 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Agree, I think Rodney Harrison was in that discussion as well. Just a notch below Reed and Polamalu, and only then because of the PED suspension.

I think McCourty is easily in the discussion as one of the top safeties in the game...maybe not quite at the level of the Seattle guys, but certainly in the top 5. (McCourty was the worst Pro-Bowl snub that nobody talked about last year). And certainly equal to a guy like Bob Sanders. Durability counts for something.

36 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I don't think Harrison is near the level of Reed, Polamalu, or Dawkins. Good player, don't get me wrong. But he's not close to being a first ballot HOF-er.

40 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I disagree. In terms of the Era, Rodney was terrific. He was also very consistent across a long period of time. We're sort of color blind to this fact given how much the game has changed, but we shouldn't be.

AS a colts fan, I absolutely hated Rodney Harrison's guts. I thought(still do) he was a dirty player. But he was great and a big reason the Pats could get away with Troy Brown's at corner.

44 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Well Rodney Harrison hasn't cracked the finalists for the HOF in two tries. I have a feeling that Polamalu, Reed, and Dawkins will fare better.

45 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

That's a reasonable point. I agree with your larger point about Troy, Ed, and Brian being a notch above, but I still think Rodney is deserving, and not in a life time achievement or Bettis kind of way.

54 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Harrison as a Patriot was nowhere near the same zip code as Harrison as a Charger. I know people now act like the first nine years of his career never happened, but he was among the scariest defensive players I've ever seen for most of that time.

55 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I really think Rodney with NE is really underrated. People forget that the Pats dynasty years featured a weird ensemble in the secondary. Both starting corners and safety got hurt in 04, but the pass defense still was great. Of course, part of that was from a great dline, but it still worked with good zone players like Bruischi and Harrison.

33 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Counterpoint: Dawkins was better than both Reed and Polamalu. Seriously, all three are great and I can't see any reasonable measure by which one could be rated better than the others...

38 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Dawkins was undoubtedly great but I didn't get to see as much of him as Polamalu or Reed. It was generally accepted that Polamalu and Reed were two defenders which offenses had to actively gameplan around and identify before every snap. I'm not sure Dawkins was that kind of player or not. I think Polamalu and Reed also had a mystique about them because of their unpredictability, they had amazing instincts and often freelanced with great effectiveness.

47 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Dawkins definitely was someone that needed to be gameplanned for. They were pretty different safeties, though, which is easy enough to see in statistics: Reed had like 60+ interceptions, but virtually no sacks/forced fumbles. Dawkins had ~35 interceptions, but as many forced fumbles and 25+ sacks. In other words, Reed/Polamalu were much more coverage safeties. Dawkins was more of an all-over player, like a strong/free safety hybrid.

48 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I was going to say, if people weren't game planning around Dawkins, well it's no surprise the Eagles defense was so good with him around then!

49 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Also, for those who put credit in AV, Dawkins/Reed/Polamalu are all pretty similar : although AV is weird in that it credits fumble recoveries (... random) and not forced fumbles (not random).

51 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

AV also doesn't take special teams into account. Not relevant for these players, but worth noting when using it to compare players in general.

53 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

There's a reason it's called Approximate. "Doug's Brief AV Explanation":

"AV is not meant to be a be-all end-all metric. Football stat lines just do not come close to capturing all the contributions of a player the way they do in baseball and basketball. If one player is a 16 and another is a 14, we can't be very confident that the 16AV player actually had a better season than the 14AV player. But I am pretty confident that the collection of all players with 16AV played better, as an entire group, than the collection of all players with 14AV."

"Essentially, AV is a substitute for --- and a significant improvement upon, in my opinion --- metrics like 'number of seasons as a starter' or 'number of times making the pro bowl' or the like. You should think of it as being essentially like those two metrics, but with interpolation in between. That is, 'number of seasons as a starter' is a reasonable starting point if you're trying to measure, say, how good a particular draft class is, or what kind of player you can expect to get with the #13 pick in the draft. But obviously some starters are better than others. Starters on good teams are, as a group, better than starters on bad teams. Starting WRs who had lots of receiving yards are, as a group, better than starting WRs who did not have many receiving yards. Starters who made the pro bowl are, as a group, better than starters who didn't, and so on. And non-starters aren't worthless, so they get some points too."

56 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Not relevant for these players? I respectfully disagree as to Reed, who was a very dangerous punt returner and, before injuries took some of his speed, an accomplished punt blocker as well.

7 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

A man named 'Troy' isn't of Greek descent? I'm sure some Greeks snuck their way into his family tree.

17 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I never realized he was Greek. With that hair, I always assumed he was Polynesian or something - which also made me wonder why he never got really heavy.

43 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

What? While Russia is the most populous Orthodox nation, most Greek Orthodox have either Greek roots or Ethiopian. Judging by the names of his wife and first child, I'm guessing he converted to the Orthodoxy when he got married to a Greek woman.

9 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

And an adult convert at that.

Reading his Wikipedia page today, I came across this nugget I hadn't heard before: "In August 2010, P&G paid for a million-dollar insurance policy from Lloyd's of London for Polamalu's hair."

10 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

"It's nice to see a future Hall of Famer understand that his body doesn't have much left and hang it up rather than go on one of those late-career tours playing a season for another team or two and getting cut by some random team before the season two years too late."

I understand this sentiment and used to share it. However, I'm no longer troubled by seeing iconic guys playing out the string. Competition is such an important part of the lives and personalities of great athletes that some guys (and gals) cannot go gently into that good night. There is something inspiring to me to see them gritting it out and battling to make a roster, raging at the dying of the light. I suppose getting older myself has something to do with it.

Not that there's anything wrong with Polamalu (or anybody else) walking away on their own terms. I respect an athlete's right to make his or her own choice. It's their lives, and as fans we should recognize that they don't owe us anything.

26 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Agreed... I think when I was younger, I always thought that older stars were probably depressed/angry/upset about not being as good anymore. But now, I figure the players understand what their role is and skills are, and if they're happy going out there and playing even in a diminished capacity, then why not?

I've heard several ex-players say that they'd have even just continued to be a back up if they could have found someone to sign them, since they just loved the game/competition/routine/etc.

42 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Everything I've read was that the Steelers didn't want Polamalu back this year, but that they wanted to make the separation as graceful as possible, which retirement does.

I'll be much less excited seeing long hair billowing out of a helmet now.

11 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

The closest comparison I can make to Polamalu is Bruce Lee. Seriously, has any other player pre-emptively stuffed a QB sneak before?

15 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Reports are that he made the decision while he was at church. Based on his play the past two years, he was probably supposed to be at the grocery store but decided at the last minute to go somewhere completely different for no reason.

In all seriousness though, for most of his career he was as fun to watch as any player I've ever seen. His ability to be near the ball every single play was incredible. He played well as a box safety, deep safety, slot corner, and even inside linebacker. I've always wished there was some way we could have seen what a defense made of 11 Polamalus would have looked like. He will certainly deserve his bust in Canton.

16 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

"Based on his play the past two years, he was probably supposed to be at the grocery store but decided at the last minute to go somewhere completely different for no reason."

I, for one, laughed.

Young Troy Polamalu was so much fun to watch, because he would just fly to the ball. Old Troy Polamalu had lost enough of his speed that he couldn't do what he'd always done; play out of position just a bit, and then be fast enough to get there. Once he slowed just that tiny bit, it was over.

Kind of reminds me of Derrick Brooks in the sense they were both so reliant on having the speed to back up their amazing instincts; they still had the instincts when they got old, but they just couldn't get there anymore. Yes, that's a standard part of aging as an NFL player, but those guys always seemed just more dependent on it than most.

19 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Exactly, he used to be athletic enough to leave his assignment but blow up the play before the offense could take advantage. Once he lost a step, he ended up getting caught between where he was supposed to be and where he was trying to get to, with bad results. I thought he looked pretty good playing ILB in the dime two years ago when they had depth problems at LB. His instincts and strength (knocked the crap out of guards all the time) were assets there and his lack of speed wasn't such a problem with less ground to cover. If they hadn't drafted Shazier, I thought they should have considered making Polamalu a full time ILB to finish his career.

18 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Very bittersweet. He was a unique player on the field, and is a unique person off the field. Its a loss for us fans, but I'm pretty confident that he's the kind of person that will have a full life after football.

22 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I think the off-the-field part is what makes Polamalu unique. There are other great safeties, but none of them had the personality he has. I can't recall another safety having a national commercial campaign as the star. Normally, you have RBs, QBs, maybe a WR or LB becomes a household name, but as good as Reed, Thomas, Lynch, and others have been, none had the personality of Polamalu.

27 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

From a marketing standpoint, this guy is/was gold. He had a distinctive look, played for the Steelers (one of) the best supported team in the US and was on a winning team - so everyone in the nation knew of him.
I don't remember him getting in contact with the police... so all in all, he was Peyton Manning... with long hair!

20 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

One of the all time greats. Mixed great play with iconic play too. Everyone can picture Polamualu-esque moves.

59 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I think its PM. Its hard to think of Papa Johns or Nationwide at this point without Pm's face.

I also think Brady is too/ half because of his amazingly more famous wife.

60 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I guess I'm not making myself clear: Simpson, Manning and Brady are obviously more FAMOUS than Polamalu. There are hundreds of players more famous than Polamalu. What I mean is: during a game, with a helmet on, out on the field, from non-close-up game coverage type angles there is no one more instantly recognizable than Polamalu. You couldn't tell Tom Brady from a 100 other dudes in that context. There is no mistaking Polamalu for anyone else in the field of play...

64 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Earl Campbell was pretty much instantly recognizable. There are a few other guys with instantly recognizable running styles. Randy Moss at top speed is another one that comes to mind for me.

70 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Oh yeah Moss - he never looked like he was making much of an effort because he had that long loping stride, but he would everyone in the dust. More than any other player, he looked like a video broken with broken mechanics.

77 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Jim Plunkett, Fred Biletnikoff, Kenny Stabler, and Jake Plummer were all pretty recognizable during their playing days.

I almost forgot about Butkus and Ditka. Who could forget those faces? and Ray Nitschke -- the ugliest guy I ever saw without a helmet on.

62 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

In a uniform with no colors or numbers OJ Simpson was definitely recognizable. His bow legs and canoe-paddle feet were one of a kind. No one ran like him.

66 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Ah, I see. Well, in that case, I'd probably go with a QB with an unusual throwing motion, like Bernie Kosar, Kenny Stabler, or Tim Tebow. Or maybe an absolutely huge lineman, like Grady Jackson or Ted Washington. But Polamalu would probably be the most recognizable DB.

72 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Kosar also had the advantage of the over-flowing curly mullet poking out of his helmet. That's a good one. Ted Washington looked like dozens of massive fat guys, especially from that era. I can't think of what Tebow looks like even now, so I guess I have to disagree with that - unless his confusion and indecisiveness stood out to me.

78 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I can't think of what Tebow looks like even now...

Here's your chance to get a better look at him, now that your Eagles have signed him.

80 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Eh, he's the third string QB, it's a non-story. Tebow is almost definitely better than kinne or whatever the name of that guy was who they had as their 3rd QB last year.

25 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Troy was special. It's probably a stylistic preference, but I preferred my safeties in the ed Reed mold. Troy was good at a lot of things, but deep coverage was probably his 4th best skill.

I'm likely biased...but until earl thomas, the best safety I saw that combined Reed and Troy was Bob sanders. He was just made of glass.

29 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

It's kind of silly that we consider guys like Polamalu and Kam Chancellor to play more or less the same position as Ed Reed or Earl Thomas, considering how different that in-the-box SS role is from a centerfield FS. It reminds me of the outside linebacker position, where Lavonte David and Tamba Hali are both considered OLBs while playing vastly different roles.

On a semi-tangential note, it strikes me as kind of weird that scouts are talking down Washington's Shaq Thompson because he's somewhere in between a linebacker and a safety. I would argue that Chancellor and Polamalu (and before that Derrick Brooks, as a WLB rather than SS role) are tremendously successful "tweeners" with bodies and skillsets between LB and S. It remains to be seen whether Thompson is a real NFL talent, but often an athletic guy with a LB/S mixed skillset has thrived to the point of being the centerpiece of their defense.

30 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

That's a fair point. I think CHancellor(when healthy) is excellent in coverage given his responsibilities.

I never felt Polomalu was excellent in coverage. He was pretty good, but he was great as a multi-weapon talent that could be deployed in a variety of ways. That versatility is incredible, just stylistically less valued by me than a pure cover player. I also admit, watching New England and Brady routinely rip apart the steeler defenses always made me question polomalu. You'll notice, Brady conversely struggles against Baltimore.

Part of this coming from my hypothesis that pass defense is becoming less about pass rush and much more about inside coverage. With quick throws, shotgun, spread and other factors - pass rushers don't get a chance to get home as quickly anymore.

32 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

"It's kind of silly that we consider guys like Polamalu and Kam Chancellor to play more or less the same position as Ed Reed or Earl Thomas, considering how different that in-the-box SS role is from a centerfield FS."

The thing with Reed is that he was a devastating SS in the beginning of his career before moving to FS. SS isn't as difficult a position to play.

35 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Ed Reed wouldn't have been a HOFer if he had stayed at SS - "devastating" is a very generous assessment. Allowing him to play centerfield and ball-hawk played to his strengths - and almost no player in history has been as good at him at doing that stuff. He was fine against the run, but he couldn't shed blocks and take on tacklers like Sean Taylor or Dawkins nor did he use pure speed, elusiveness and anticipation to blow up running plays like Sanders and Polamalu. Of course not one of those players could compare in coverage except for Dawkins, who didn't have even half of the return abilities...

37 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Ed Reed had his best season and won DPOY in 2004 while playing SS. I think he was better served playing FS because it protected him from injury more, but I stand by the adjective "devastating" and wonder how anyone who watched him play SS could think otherwise.

39 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

The only flaw I found in Ed reed was he gambled too much. This caused him to hang the ravens out a to dry a few seasons when their pass rush/ corners weren't as good. Outside of that, his instincts and range were really unmatched - again, until Earl thomas showed on the scene. That's why, in terms of a pure safety, I preferred Reed to Polamalu and really everyone else. One could argue they shouldn't be compared since their roles were so different. That's a reasonable argument.

61 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

But that's the big difference between Dawkins and Reed (and what puts him on the level with Reed or Polamalu) is that Dawkins was never out of position - he diagnosed plays better than anyone I've ever seen and didn't need to freelance to make a difference and provide support. His athleticism might have been a little lower than those two, but he was always precisely where he needed to be. He could also shed blocks and take on o-linemen to make a tackle, which is something that Reed and Polamalu simply didn't have in their repertoire.

That said, all three are amazing. I just think Reed was not the kind of SS that would have made HOF career out of it - he might have been down on that Sean Taylor/Adrian Wilson level, but I'm not convinced. He got washed out of running plays and gambled in pursuit. That played MUCH better for him in coverage than it did against the run. No one ever said "we can't run a stretch play, they've got Ed Reed back there." Bob Sanders and Polamalu would blow those plays up behind the LOS while Taylor, Dawkins and Wilson would beat their blocker or run them out to the sideline.

In fact, his excellence against slow-developing plays like stretch runs, sweeps and play-action are what made Polamalu so brilliant and devastating. Nobody made you regret taking an extra second to get a play off like Polamalu...

65 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

"But that's the big difference between Dawkins and Reed (and what puts him on the level with Reed or Polamalu) is that Dawkins was never out of position - he diagnosed plays better than anyone I've ever seen and didn't need to freelance to make a difference and provide support."

First off, Dawkins was never out of position? Come on.

Secondly, I think Reed's reputation for freelancing made him an even more effective player. A QB will have a lot more confidence making throws downfield if a FS is predictable. The fact that QB's didn't know what Reed was going to do often made them not throw it anywhere near where he was playing out of fear that Reed was going to jump a route. Reed got burned for his freelancing once in a blue moon, but what doesn't get factored in are the hundreds of passes that were never thrown his direction out of fear.

67 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

I'm not sure Reed had to be a gambler to be so good. I get that he was unpredictable, but I think it was mostly Reed's unbelievable range and route diagnosis that led to all those ints.

I remember reading Jaworski interviewing Carson Palmer about Reed. Reed gambled for ints, so that meant he would often vacate certain areas specifically to freelance. I think that works when the structure of the defense is solid - which for the majority of the years was true. But there were years that it wasn't and that gambling probably made things worse. But I can understand if you disagree.

73 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

"Dawkins was never out of position" - I'd really stand by that. I think he can't come in terms of spectacular plays to Reed or Polamalu nor in terms of strength and viciousness to Taylor or Wilson, but I really never saw him out of position and especially never saw him take a bad angle - that's his calling card. He was an expert at forcing fumbles by calculating how to strip the ball away as opposed to surprising a hit or laying the lumber. He excelled improbably saving touchdowns as a matter of fact - he just was always exactly where he was supposed to be.

That's his HOF virtue, the way Reed's HOF virtue is his preternatural, unrivaled ball-skills. Reed's freelancing definitely made him the player he was (i.e. one of the best of all time) so we agree there. It's no insult to Reed to say he wasn't all things at all times. Nor is it an insult to Polamalu or Dawkins to same the same thing. It's three of the greats we're talking about.

But as far as Dawkins always being in the right spot, the argument isn't he never got beat. The biggest play I can think of him getting beat on are the famous Alge Crumpler catch in the playoffs where he destroyed Crumpler but the TE still made the catch or Jeremy Shockey out-muscling him for a TD at the end of the 2002 season. In both cases, Dawkins was perfectly in position. I think Reed likely makes an interception on the Crumpler play and the QB doesn't even look his way on the Shockey catch. Dawkins almost never made the crazy, unpredictable play - he did the exact opposite.

I really can't think of a single play in a decade where Dawkins wasn't where he supposed to be, where he bit on play action and got burned or took a bad angle. If you watch the 2004 Superbowl loss, on that final defensive stand, when they absolutely need a stop to get the ball back - it's all Dawkins. He reads ever play perfectly. By the end, in that 2008 season where their defense was the second best in Eagles history, Dawkins would diagnose plays like a mind reader - I've never seen ANYTHING like it...

74 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

Fair enough - thanks for all the info on Dawkins! He should be a 1st ballot HOFer in my book, but since he doesn't have as much as a "playmaker" reputation compared to Reed or Polamalu (or a ring, or DPOY) it'll be interesting to see how the HOF voters treat him.

46 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

My two cents - Reed was the better ball hawk (arguably the best of all time), but Troy was better around the LoS. Yes, this includes when Reed played SS. Reed won DPoY in 2004 largely because of his ints. You could make a good case for James Farrior being more deserving overall of the award that season.

57 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

The really interesting thing as that while each one is easily one of the best of all time at his respective position, I don't think you could build a defense with both of them on the field at the same time. Both were gamblers who relied on solid teammates to back them up and give them the chance to gamble; you can't give both of your safeties the green light to freelance, even when they play at that level.

69 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

IMO, Polamalu and Reed stand out as the two best Safeties of the last 25 years and should easily be HOFers. Dawkins, Harrison and Atwater would be in the next group with each having a chance to get to Canton.

Dawkins in his prime was probably the best of the three but never won a championship although he played on some good teams in a major market.
Harrison gained notoriety with New England because of the SuperBowls, but his best days were in SD. If voters just look at his NE career it could be tough.
Atwater wasn't much in coverage but wasn't asked to be. He was the ultimate hammer in the middle and played extremely well in big games; (SB 32 where he was everywhere and the DPOG, 98 AFC Championship game where he forced 2 fumbles against the Jets).

75 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires/Players hanging on to backup

Different player than Polamalu, but I remember Champ Bailey hanging around volunteering to play safety after he was no longer effective as corner. Not sure he actually would have been good at safety (except it could have made him an on-field coach kind of player), but it was touching that the Broncos gave him a one game contract last year for a special event. I could see the Steelers honoring Polamalu the same way. He was as much a face of the Steelers as anyone. Maybe you wouldn't want him teaching younger players to be out of position and recovering with sheer athleticism, but when his body was in form, it made him noteworthy on the field.

76 Re: Troy Polamalu Retires

A tip of the cap to Ike Taylor, who announced his retirement today after a nice 12-year career.