Just days after it was announced he will enter the Steelers “Hall of Honor”, former safety Troy Polamalu penned a long, emotional thank you and love letter to Pittsburgh and the Steelers.
In the letter, Polamalu describes his transformation from USC Trojan to Pittsburgh Steeler and how unlikely he thought it would be.
Polamalu the first NFL game he ever watched was the first one he played in and adds he didn’t know much about the organization when he was drafted.
“I’ll further explain my ignorance when one of my best friends Aaron had to explain to me that I wasn’t playing at Three Rivers stadium but Heinz Field, that Jerome Bettis is a future HOFer and to watch out for Hines Ward who is the baddest man in the NFL.”
The letter shows that Polamalu has learned a lot about the Steelers since then, talking about how important people like Joe Green were to the team and the NFL. He also talks about everything he learned from players like Joey Porter and Coach Bill Cowher.
Polamalu also says that current players like Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt are carrying on the Steelers. “A band of brothers that are closely tied to things deeper than money, business, and winning.”
Maybe the most important part for Troy to identify as a Steelers is something he calls “The Steeler way.”
To be a Steeler is to consider others before you consider yourself. To protect your brother, even from himself, to give support, even at your expense, when wearing black and gold suit of armor, make sure nobody desecrates or disrespects it, most importantly we ourselves don’t dishonor it. One of the best sayings I’ve ever heard from previous legends who have donned the black and gold is, “You could have played with us.”
He wraps up his letter emphasizing how unlikely, but grateful he is to be a Pittsburgher.
“When I showed up to my first day in my brand new Range Rover because I was a Trojan from LA before I became a Steeler, I never thought Pittsburgh would be my home. In fact, I called my agent Marvin Demoff during my predraft visit to Pittsburgh on a dreary cold and rainy night asking to make sure I never go back. 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.
Polamalu is a 2-time Super Bowl champion, 8-time Pro Bowler and along with Coach Cowher will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next August.