Tag:Troy Polamalu
Posted on: August 31, 2010 8:49 am

How much is Polamalu's hair worth?

T. Polamalu has insured his hair for $1 million (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Troy Polamalu is one of the most feared players in the NFL. He’s a hard hitter, and he covers virtually every inch of the field when the Steelers safety is healthy. Quarterbacks hate it when he’s in the game, because, simply put, Polamalu is good enough to force the opposing offense to change its entire gameplan.

Oh, and he’s got a nice head of hair.

You’ve most likely seen him bullying reporters and showing off his flowing locks in TV commercials for Head and Shoulders (hey, if I had hair like that, I’d use it to my advantage as well and do, well, pretty much whatever I wanted). That’s probably why Polamalu, according to the Associated Press has decided to insure his hair for $1 million through Lloyd’s of London.

This, of course, is a publicity stunt for the dandruff shampoo, and it’s unclear what exactly has to happen to Polamalu’s hair in order for him to collect the money. But hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do in order to protect your best asset. That’s why, as we speak, I’m trying to figure out how I can insure my typing fingers (as opposed to my regular fingers).

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Posted on: August 25, 2010 11:54 am

Polamalu still not 100 percent

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Troy Polamalu, known for his fiery on-field play and his tremendous instincts for the ball, feels a little apprehensive coming into this season. It’s because he missed 11 games last season with a torn knee ligament, and he honestly doesn’t know how the knee is going to react when he steps on the field for the regular season.

He’s felt fine in the first two preseason games, but still, his mind is not at rest.

“Maybe a little too much thinking,” Polamalu told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "In the back of your mind you always have those concerns. It wasn't in my consciousness at all as I was playing. That's a positive thing. … I did feel better. I take some comfort in getting out there and moving the knee in different directions."

One area Polamalu feels he needs to improve? His tackling, in part, he says, because his focus isn’t quite there.

Without Polamalu in the lineup last year, the Steelers secondary badly suffered, as they allowed opponents to throw 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions against Pittsburgh. Even a Polamalu that’s not quite 100 percent healthy – physically and mentally – should help the backend of the Steelers defense regain some of its swagger.

It’s better to have half a Polamalu than no Polamalu at all.

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 12:37 pm

Polamalu's knee no longer a factor

T. Polamalu will make a major impact on Pittsburgh's defense if he's completely healthy (Getty). During a podcast I taped today with Will Brinson – it should be up on the blog later this afternoon – we had a lengthy conversation about the Steelers and how dependent they are on Troy Polamalu to return to strength after playing only five games last year due to a knee injury.

Without him in the lineup last year, Pittsburgh was forced to use Tyrone Carter at the strong safety spot. The experiment did not go well – and really, it’s not fair to expect the undersized Carter, who’s now a free agent by the way, to replicate Polamalu’s talent and production – and the Steelers secondary only recorded 10 interceptions while finishing 16th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game.

Now, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , Polamalu is healthy and ready to return and cause havoc for opposing offenses. His knee no longer should be a factor.

"It took a little longer than I anticipated," Polamalu told the paper. "I'm fine now. It just took longer in the offseason. There's no way I could have played in the Super Bowl or anything like that. Maybe I was just fooling myself to work toward something like that."

Polamalu never had surgery to repair the damage to his knee ligaments, because the recovery was too uncertain. He decided to let the knee heal on its own, and now, he’s healthy enough to practice. But what about actually playing in a game?

"It's a whole other story when you have to play,” he said. “You really can't say how confident you are until you really have people falling on you and your legs.

“Exploding off it hasn't been a problem at all. You can simulate that through training. But you can't really simulate people falling on it and people around your legs. But I honestly don't think that's a huge problem at all."

If Polamalu is healthy – and Will and I discussed this – the Steelers will have a better chance of competing for an AFC North title, particularly when it comes to dealing with the newly-retooled passing offenses of the Bengals and Ravens. If he’s not as healthy as he wants – or he reinjures himself – this season could go downhill pretty quickly in Pittsburgh. Yes, Polamalu is that important.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 30, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 3:31 pm

Positional rankings: Safeties

As we wave goodbye to offseason news and as we wait for the regular season to begin – or, at the very least, training camp and the preseason – we fill our days with thoughts of the abstract, and we ponder questions that can never be truly answered. Who are the best players in the NFL at their position? What separates the top man at his spot from No. 4 and No. 5?

Well, we’re attempting to answer that in June and July. Andy and Josh will explore each position on the field and debate the merits and flaws
of each player. Clearly, it’s reasonable for smart men to disagree, and these arguments during the next few weeks will only reinforce that notion. Even as we watch film, talk to NFL insiders and conduct our own painstaking research, our top-five lists, though they’ll likely bear some similarities, will disagree. Which makes this whole endeavor worthwhile.   

Today, we debate the top safeties – both free safeties and strong safeties.

Andy Benoit’s top five

Troy Polamalu (Getty Images)
5. Nick Collins, Packers

4. Brian Dawkins, Broncos

3. Darren Sharper, Saints

2. Ed Reed, Ravens

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers

The safety position has become the lynchpin to so many of the complex defensive schemes we see in today’s NFL. Versatility is key. On that note, Polamalu is the most valuable defensive player in the NFL. He is a thumper against the run, he has fantastic range in coverage and, wherever he is on the field, he’s a first-class playmaker.

Polamalu’s presence is what enables Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to be aggressive in his scheme. We saw last season that when Polamalu is out of the lineup, the Steelers D can be reactionary.

Reed makes the list on the assumption that his bum hip won’t be a major issue come September. He may be the best centerfielder in NFL history. Sharper is an interception machine and, more importantly, a leader. Without his stability in the New Orleans’ secondary last season, we’d have a different defending Super Bowl champ right now. Dawkins turns 35 this season but hasn’t lost a step. Amazing. Collins has become a regular at the Pro Bowl. His instincts have improved every year, plus, he’s not a bad tackler.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Bob Sanders, Colts

4. Bernard Pollard, Texans

3. Brian Dawkins, Broncos

2. Ed Reed, Ravens

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers

Well, it’s hard to argue against Polamalu. He’s the safety who scares every QB in the league, and you could really see the impact on his team when he was injured last season. The frenetic, sideline-to-sideline impact Polamalu made simply wasn’t there.

As long as Ed Reed is healthy and returns to play – he recently said he’s about 35 percent healthy, which doesn’t sound promising – he’s No. 2. Not much to be said about Dawkins – one of the top safeties in NFL history. Pollard flies under the radar because he spent his first couple years in the league with Kansas City and he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler, but he’s amassed 289 tackles in the past three seasons to go with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in just 13 games last year. Was it coincidence that, when Pollard signed with Houston, the Texans’ total defensive yards and defensive rushing yards decreased dramatically? I don’t think so.

Sanders hasn’t played much the past few years because of knee and arm injuries, but, at the age of 29, he’s still in his prime and still has the talent that led him to two Pro Bowls and the 2007 NFL’s defensive player of the year honor. Yes, he’s not healthy very much, but when he is, he’s one of the top guys in the league. I like Nick Collins as well and I think his stock is rising, but I just don’t think he’s a top-five guy yet.

Andy’s rebuttal

I like that you went with Pollard – that shows you’re paying attention. Few people even know about the fifth-year pro. The Texans put Pollard in attack mode last season – as opposed to react mode that Kansas City stuck him in – and he blossomed. Pollard is a formidable run-stopper and underrated playmaker. I want to see him perform at a high level for a 16-game span before giving him the nod, though.

Shortly after writing my list, Texans tight end Owen Daniels told me in a phone interview that Sanders is the best opponent he’s faced. That made me regret not including the former Defensive Player of the Year. Honestly, I love the guy. But the fact of the matter is, Sanders is made of glass and the Colts were 14-2 without him last season.

Someone else we both need to consider is Saints strong safety Roman Harper. He’s the X-factor in Gregg Williams’ aggressive blitz scheme.

Josh’s final word

Yeah, I had reservations about Sanders, because he’s played eight games the past two years, and how can you call a guy a top-five safety when he’s played so little?

You’re right about Harper. The guy can flat-out tackle, he’s a force when he crosses the line of scrimmage and gets into his opponent’s offensive backfield, and he’s coming off a heck of a year.

It’s funny, though. Three guys on my list (Polamalu, Reed and Sanders) are coming off major injuries. Two guys on your list are at least 34 (Sharper and Dawkins), Reed is 31 and Polamalu is 29. Which tells us what exactly? I don’t know. Maybe they just don’t make Hall of Fame safeties like they used to, or maybe the younger safeties are just extremely mediocre. Either way, enjoy the safeties on our list for as long as they’re playing. Some of them won’t be around much longer.

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com