Troy Polamalu has a knack for saving games at the 11th Hour. The Steelers it seems, are about to repay him in kind.
The Post-Gazette, as well as numerous other sources are reporting that the Steelers have reached an agreement to extend Troy Polamalu’s contract through the 2014 season. Steelers Digest confirmed the report, indicating the Polamalu signed the extension prior to boarding the team's charter for Baltimore.
Change of Heart?
When news broke that the two sides were negotiating, Steel Curtain Rising weighed in against making the move now, simply because it seemed questionable to commit big, guaranteed dollars to a player with mounting injuries.
Moreover, the Steelers had given indications that the “vault was closed” after having dished out hefty signing bonuses to stars such as Ike Taylor, Willie Colon, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. It made more financial sense to wait.
Obviously Art Rooney II, Omar Khan, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin thought differently.
Reversal of History?
As everyone knows, the Steelers didn’t draft Dan Marino who went to Miami, and it took 20 years and a kid from Miami, Ohio to live down that mistake.
The back story of rumors about Marino’s involvement with drugs along with contradicting confirmations and rejections by Chuck Noll and Art Rooney Jr. are also well known.
But the back story runs deeper.
After the Steelers selected Gabe Rivera in the first round of the 1983 draft, John Clayton, then writing for the Pittsburgh Press, suggested to Dan Rooney that the Steelers get Marino trade back into the first round by packaging Cliff Stoudt and some picks for Miami’s first.
Word is that Chuck Noll and the other Steelers coaches embraced the idea, until Rooney mentioned its source, which killed the deal before it even got started.
Jim Wexell, of both Steelers Digest and Steel City Insider has suggested several times this off season that the Steelers dare not make the same mistake with Polamalu that they made with Rod Woodson.
Did someone on the South Side lend their ear to Wexell?
I have no inside information that this is the case, but it is an interesting enough possibility to throw out there.
Good Football Move
How the Steelers arrived at the decision to resign Troy Polamalu is less important than why they resigned him.
And that reason is simple.
Every generation boasts a handful of players who possess the rare combination of athleticism, skill, dedication, and “on the field presence” that allows them to change the course of games with a single play.
The Steelers of the 70’s had at least a half dozen – something you’ll never see again. Rod Woodson was one such player.
And so is Troy Polamalu
Although I questioned the wisdom of when the Steelers should resign Polamalu, it was always a question of when and not if.
Troy Polamalu is truly a special player and the Steelers have just taken steps to ensure he plays his entire NFL career in Pittsburgh.
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