Troy Polamalu is a former American football player of Samoan descent who played his entire twelve-year career for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. He played college football for the University of Southern California, and earned consensus All-American honors. He was chosen by the Steelers in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He was a member of two of the Steelers' Super Bowl championship teams, and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
The Steelers used Polamalu in a high percentage of defensive plays and in a wide variety of defensive roles. In only his third season (2005), he tied the NFL record for most sacks, three, in a single game by a safety. The 2007 Pro Bowl was his third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance; he started at strong safety for the AFC, playing next to the Baltimore Ravens starting free safety Ed Reed. Polamalu made the AP NFL All-Pro Second Team in 2005, and was named to the First Team in 2006.
Polamalu’s first Super Bowl appearance was in Super Bowl XL in 2006, when the Pittsburgh Steelers gained the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl with a 21–10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Polamalu was named a reserve to the 2008 Pro Bowl despite having no interceptions and only playing in eleven games during the 2007 season. Polamalu’s injury-plagued 2007 season led him to partake in a California rehab program. He suffered a hamstring injury late in his off-season workout, causing him to miss Pittsburgh’s 2008 training camp. He returned to practicing with the team days after the camp’s conclusion, however.
Polamalu was named to the 2009 Pro Bowl as the AFC’s strong safety after being given a unanimous vote by five experts. Polamalu’s 4th quarter interception return for a touchdown in the 2009 AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens helped the Steelers clinch a victory en route to another Super Bowl appearance.
In 2011, Polamalu was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year and the NFL Alumni Player of the Year award. In Super Bowl XLV Polamalu had 3 tackles, but the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers, 31–25. Polamalu retired in 2015 and finished his career with 770 tackles, 32 interceptions and three touchdowns.
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