Veteran safety Troy Polamalu has retired, the team announced today.
Polamalu played 12 seasons for the Steelers (2003-2014) after originally being selected by the team in the first round (16th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played in 158 career regular-season games with 142 starts, and he started all 15 postseason contests that he played in. Polamalu’s 158 career games played during the regular season are the fifth-most among defensive backs in team history.
“Since we drafted him in 2003, Troy Polamalu has been an outstanding player and person,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “On behalf of the entire Steelers organization and the Steelers Nation, I am happy to be able to publicly celebrate and thank Troy for his many contributions to the Steelers. His unique style of play will be remembered among the all-time Steelers. His passion for the game of football on the field and his willingness to be a contributor to the community make him a very special person.”
His career totals include 12.0 sacks, 32 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries during the regular season, and his postseason numbers include one half-sack and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
In 2014, Polamalu was named a defensive team captain. He started 12 games during the regular season, where he recorded 59 tackles, two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Polamalu also started the lone postseason contest, finishing with a team-best eight tackles.
He is tied for the second-most defensive touchdowns during the regular season in franchise history (5), is tied for seventh on the team’s all-time interceptions list (32) and is ninth on the team’s all-time interception returns yards list (398).
Polamalu has earned numerous accolades in his career. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler (2004-08, 2010-11, ‘13), and has been named first-team AP All Pro four times (2005, 2008, 2010-11) and second team two times (2004, 2007). Polamalu was also named to the 2000’s NFL All-Decade Team and to the Steelers’ 75th Anniversary Team. He also earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors seven times. He was honored with the team’s Joe Greene Great Performance Award in 2003, given annually to the team’s top rookie.
In 2010, the two-time Super Bowl Champion (XL and XLIII) had one of his most memorable seasons, as he finished second in the league with seven interceptions despite missing two games. Polamalu was instrumental in guiding the defense and helping his team earn a Super Bowl berth. For his efforts, he was named Steelers’ MVP and the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year, and he was also named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Statements from Chairman Dan Rooney, Mike Tomlin & Kevin Colbert on Troy Polamalu Retiring
Chairman Dan Rooney
“Last night I received a very important call from Troy Polamalu. He had a lot of nice things to say about the organization, and it was very sincere. He is a good, family man, which meant a lot to him. I think that’s part of what he is going to do [moving forward]. But he’s been a tremendous leader, really a leader by example, not only as a great football player but as a great person. He has influenced many people both on and off the field, which was really an important part. We’ve been fortunate to have great players throughout the years, but he of course would be one of the top players. He did everything with dignity and responsibility, and it was special to have Troy be a Steeler his entire career.”
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
”Troy is a shining example of a football man in the way he loved the game, the way he respected the game and the way he played the game. It’s a shining example of the window into who he is. He is a legendary Steeler and a legendary man. I congratulate him and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
General Manager Kevin Colbert
“Troy Polamalu was as unique a person as he was a football player. His actions as a human being were just as impressive as any of the many inhuman plays he made on the football field. We were very fortunate to have him be a part of our organization for the past 12 years. We wish him and his family all the best as they move into the next phase of their lives.”