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Steelers S Polamalu retiring after 12 seasons

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The Sports Xchange

Ending a stellar 12-year career, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is retiring from the NFL.

The 33-year-old veteran told the Uniontown (Pa.) Herald-Standard that he called Steelers chairman Dan Rooney on Wednesday and said he is stepping away. The team informed Polamalu after last season that it would not offer him another contract.

“I did not seriously consider playing elsewhere,” Polamalu told the Herald-Standard. “It was just whether or not I wanted to play. I had talked to a lot of people about what I should do with my situation, and what they kept saying back to me, and which was not a sufficient reason, was ‘Troy, you played 12 years in the NFL, you won Super Bowls, won individual awards. There’s nothing left to prove. You have a legacy.’ And I just kept saying, ‘First of all, I don’t care about a legacy. Second of all, I play the game because I enjoy it.’ That’s the reason to keep playing.

“Like I said, what it came down to was definitely family. If I’m in my fourth year, fifth year, even if I’m in my 10th year, I’m playing in Alaska. But when I started this process and started to debate whether I should come back or should I play, that was kind of the sign for me to say ‘Whoa, if you’re just even debating it maybe you shouldn’t play anymore,’ because what I do know about this game is it takes a lot — a lot — of commitment just to be an average player.”

Polamalu, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick out of Southern California in 2003, wound up making eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams. He won Super Bowls with Pittsburgh after the 2005 and 2008 seasons, and he was selected the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.

In 158 career games (all starts after his rookie season), Polamalu recorded 770 tackles, 100 passes defensed, 32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and 12 sacks. He returned three interceptions for touchdowns.

He told the Herald-Standard that the decision to retire came during this week, which is Holy Week for the Greek Orthodox Church.

“It’s all about family,” Polamalu said. “I live here in Pittsburgh now, and since the end of the season I’ve had a chance to enjoy my family on a level I never had before. It was awesome.”

He also cited his age and league service times as omens.

“Thirty-three is obviously significant because of Christ being 33; and 12 years, 12 apostles,” he said. “I’m not superstitious by any means, but I always thought that if I played 12 years and retire from football at 33 and give my life and give my body and give my blood to this game, I think that would be a pretty significant landmark in my life.”


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