Report: Troy Polamalu could be released after season

troy-polamalu-steelersTroy Polamalu could be released by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the season if he does not impress the team the rest of the season, according to a report.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said over the weekend that we can expect Ben Roethlisberger to ask for a trade after the season, came through with more Steelers rumors on Thursday. Rapoport reported on “Total Access Kickoff” that there could be “significant turnover” to the Steelers’ offensive coaching staff and defensive secondary. Rapoport also said that safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark have to play “incredibly well” in the final seven games to earn a chance to come back next season.

Polamalu was drafted in the first round by the Steelers in 2003 and has played his entire career in Pittsburgh. He’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro, two-time Super Bowl champ and he was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. Despite his ability to make huge hits and game-changing plays, we have pointed out how he sometimes struggles in pass coverage. Just two weeks ago we showed you how faked out he was on a Tom Brady touchdown pass.

Polamalu is set to earn $8.25 million in the final year of his contract next season. If the Steelers release him, that would reportedly count as $2.637 million in dead money against the 2014 salary cap. Unless he agrees to a major discount, we can picture him being released. Don’t be surprised by all this; the Steelers are notoriously frugal and wouldn’t pay big money for a player who they don’t believe is worth it.

Troy Polamalu faked out on Tom Brady touchdown pass

Troy Polamalu is one of the best safeties in the NFL and makes more game-changing plays than most defensive backs. He’s exciting, instinctive, and a hard hitter. Remember this play he made against Jake Locker earlier in the season? That was beautiful.

But, as we’ve shown in the past, he can get lost in pass coverage at times. Tom Brady made Polamalu pay on Sunday in one of his best touchdown passes of the season.

On the first play after a Patriots interception, Brady threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola. He first looked for Julian Edelman on the near sideline, which caused Polamalu to start running over to help in coverage. Brady pump-faked causing Polamalu to bite, which left Amendola wide open across the middle.

Polamalu was going so hard after Edelman that he had to turn around to try recovering. You can see how wide open Amendola was in this shot:

Troy Polamalu Patriots touchdown

Polamalu plays aggressively on the field which helps his team but also hurts them at times. That play was one of the times it hurt.

GIF via GIFD Sports

Troy Polamalu will reportedly cut off very little of his hair for veteran’s charity

Troy Polamalu hair

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has the most recognizable head of hair in the NFL. Last week, the 11-year veteran indicated on his Facebook page that were are going to have to get used to identifying him without his flowing locks after Veterans Day in November. But that may not be entirely true.

TMZ reported on Wednesday that Polamalu only intends to chop off a few of his locks as a symbol of support for veterans during the “Veterans Day VFW Mane Event” in a couple months. A representative for Head & Shoulders, which has long sponsored Polamalu and even insured his hair for $1 million, insisted that Polamalu isn’t going with a buzz cut or anything close.

The haircut is expected to be more ceremonial than anything. It’s still a nice gesture from Polamalu, but it sounds like speculation that we won’t be seeing a flowing mane hang out the back of his Steelers helmet when he’s lighting up opponents was premature.

Troy Polamalu cutting his hair for veterans charity

Troy Polamalu hair

Troy Polamalu is known for his long, flowing hair almost as much as his ferocious play on the football field. But pretty soon, he won’t be as easily identifiable by his hair.

Polamalu posted on his Facebook page Thursday that he is planning to cut his hair on Veterans Day in November.

We talk about supporting veterans often, but now its time for us all to DO something. I’m getting a ceremonial haircut this Veterans Day for the #VFWManeEvent with Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW I DARE you to join me. www.VFWManeEvent.org

Polamalu’s hair has earned him a sponsorship deal with head and shoulders and is representative of his Samoan roots. As explained in the video below, he’ll be cutting his hair for a good cause.

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Troy Polamalu kills Jake Locker on sack after jumping snap count

One of Troy Polamalu’s specialties is his ability to perfectly time a snap count to interrupt a play. Oh boy, did Jake Locker ever learn that lesson.

The Tennessee Titans had a first and 10 at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 25 in the third quarter on Sunday, but Polamalu erased that by coming from his safety spot and busting through the middle to tackle Locker for a 3-yard loss. It was a thing of beauty.

You can watch another angle of the play below:

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Troy Polamalu wants nothing to to with the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story

Former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia added even more confusion to the story of Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend on Wednesday night when he claimed to have met the non-existent young lady, Lennay Kekua. Like most of the details that have emerged since Deadspin broke the major story, Mauia’s recollection of how and when he met Kekua makes little sense.

In addition to describing Kekua as a beautiful young woman who “looked like a model,” Mauia also mentioned that he met her in 2011 when he and some other players went to do charity work in American Samoa. One of the players that ESPN.com said he mentioned was Troy Polamalu, but Mauia took to Twitter on Thursday morning to insist that the Steelers safety has nothing to do with the bizarre story.

Polamalu retweeted Mauia’s tweet to his followers, so clearly he is concerned about having his name associated with what has become one of the most insane stories in sports history. Mauia also asked that people leave the Cardinals out of it, since he is no longer with the team.

The fact that Mauia mentioned Polamalu’s name and is now insisting he had nothing to do with it makes his side of the story even less credible.

See all our stories on Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend

Troy Polamalu admits he’s lied about concussions to get into games

Troy Polamalu says football players suffer an alarming amount of concussions during a typical season and that he’s even lied to hide his concussions so he could continue playing.

The Steelers safety joined “The Dan Patrick Show” to talk about his experience filming “Dark Knight” and was asked how many concussions he’s suffered during his career.

“I’ve had, I believe, eight or nine recorded concussions,” Polamalu said. “We’ll have another conversation after I’m done playing football.”

Polamalu was asked how many unrecorded concussions he’s had.

“Well, you know, when people say that you kind of just feel like a little buzzed or dazed, if that is considered a concussion, I would say any football player records at least 50-100 concussions a year.”

If players only have a fraction of their concussions officially recorded, does that mean they’re lying to hide them? Polamalu says he has.

“Yes I have, for sure,” Polamalu said. “There’s so much built up about team camaraderie and sacrifice and football is such a tough man’s game. I think that’s why it’s so popular. That’s why so many blue collar communities and people can really feel attracted to this because it is a blue collar struggle that football players go through.

“I wouldn’t say that I’ve had any major lies. Where someone said ‘Hey, is your knee messed up?’ when it may be kind of messed up and you just push yourself to be out there with your brothers.”

Polamalu acknowledged that there are some situations where a player is too injured to hide it. His comments shouldn’t come as a surprise; Rob Gronkowski admitted last season he would hide concussions symptoms to play, and Peyton Manning has joked about fudging a baseline concussion test. Players may continue to hide symptoms so that they can play, but maybe comments like this will alert team doctors to be more proactive when it comes to testing players for such serious injuries.