Troy Polamalu is a first-ballot Hall of Famer without a reasonable doubt and arguably the greatest strong safety to ever play the game, but the wear and tear of torpedoing his body around since 2003 may have cut him down at the relatively young age of 32.
The 2010 Defensive Player of the Year and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team selection enters 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers training camp coming off a couple injury-plagued season that have seen him play decline markedly even when on the field, but Polamalu has recently contended that he’s in the best shape of his career. Now that just sounds like offseason noise and I’ll believe it when I see it, but Polamalu has appeared to be vigilante this offseason with injury prevention, especially when it comes to the calf ailment that has dogged him.
“Time is not stale,” Polamalu said, via ESPN, adding that he’d found a great physical therapist in the Pittsburgh area. “You have to continue to evolve as time evolves, your career evolves and your body evolves. I think when you become stale in that way, then it’s just kind of a redundant thing. … If you don’t attack the problem of scar tissue, then you’re just going to continue to have problems.”
Typically has Polamalu goes the Steelers defense goes, but this wasn’t quite the case last season. Polamalu only played 402 snaps and finished 13th in Pro Football Focus’ safety grading after finishing first in 2011 in more than double the snap count. However, Pittsburgh still managed to finish first in total defense last season. Now, Polamalu playing close to 100 percent would still help this defense drastically, but the overall level of performance doesn’t plummet as in the past.