On the heels of Friday’s announcement that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be inducting him into its Hall of Honor, legendary safety Troy Polamalu took what was in his heart and put into words a letter to the Steelers and his beloved “home” of Pittsburgh.
With the title “A Pittsburgh Steeler,” Troy’s first sentence of the beautiful ode begins, “People find it hard to believe that the first NFL game I actually watched, was the first NFL game I played in.”
Troy has us in tears with his first sentence.
A Pittsburgh SteelerPeople find it hard to believe that the first NFL game I actually watched, was the first NFL game…
Polamalu wrote about how the Steelers weren’t his teammates but “truly brothers,” and mentioned several of them in particular with accompanying anecdotes. Ryan Clark, Cam Heyward, Joey Porter and Mike Logan. His first encounter with roommate Ike Taylor. Hines Ward flashing his “classic grin” after Troy attempted to make a play on him in practice. Having a locker next to Jerome Bettis.
It goes without saying — but I will — that he did not forget the unforgettable Joe Greene, a player that Troy later writes was one he “struggled to emulate” during his career in Pittsburgh.
“Joe Greene is without a doubt the greatest player in NFL history,” Troy wrote. “As the saying goes, the best player, on the best team, is the MVP. Joe Greene is the best player from the most successful organization in NFL history.”
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
And, of course, Bill Cowher and the lesson that he taught to “embrace misery,” especially that of which is the unbearable climate of Pittsburgh summers and winters.
Troy even manages to drop “The standard is the standard” in reference to his last and former coach Mike Tomlin.
“Now, I’m blessed to be in the Hall of Honor, confirmation that enduring the struggles to emulate players before me is worthwhile. Thank yinz.”
Pittsburgh is… “my home”
In what I’m sure was a most memorable interview for Mark Kaboly, Polamalu recently said to “The Athletic” about his former city, “I lived in Pittsburgh longer than I lived anywhere else in my life. Pittsburgh is, without a doubt, my home…”
“To be honest, I have only been living here in California for a little less than two years. I was in Pittsburgh the entire time,” Troy added. “Just to be able to see fans on an everyday basis taking my kids to school in Wexford and Shady Side Academy. I was really trying to live life as a Yinzer.”
Troy’s words are such a heart-warming public gesture from a customarily quiet, unassuming man. That and the person that Troy Polamalu is are what makes this letter so exceptionally special.