Troy Polamalu has snubbed Steelers since they forced him into retirement
Troy Polamalu was one of the most beloved Pittsburgh Steelers players in team history, but he was apparently not feeling all fuzzy about the franchise when he retired last spring.
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Polamalu has avoided most Steelers-related events since his retirement, feeling that the team “forced” him into calling it a career. Most notably, Polamalu skipped a gathering last fall where the Steelers honored their Super Bowl XL championship team for its 10-year anniversary.
While Polamalu has been spotted at Pirates and Penguins games, he has not been seen at any Steelers games since he last played. However, Polamalu is finally expected to reconnect with the team when he attends the 80th Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction Wednesday night to honor Antonio Brown as Sportsman of the Year.
Polamalu’s agent, Marvin Demoff, insists the eight-time Pro Bowler holds no hard feeling toward the team he spent his entire career with.
“I don’t think that there’s any bad feelings on his part,” Demoff told Bouchette. “I really don’t. I think that in his own way he just had to step away from football — ESPN, the NFL Network, anything involved in football.”
The Steelers, who were up against it with the cap, informed Polamalu last year that they would have to release him if he did not retire. Rather than signing with another team, Polamalu decided to hang up the cleats.
“I think that’s true, that he was disappointed,” Demoff added. “But he didn’t want to pursue anything else other than the Steelers. He had other opportunities in broadcasting and playing. The answer was always no.”
It has to be hard for a player who is capable of making plays like this to be told that he is no longer welcome. But at the end of the day, Polamalu and the Steelers will forever be linked. There’s a difference between needing time away and cutting ties altogether.