(Photo by John Biever/Getty Images)
Former Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu will be formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer as a part of the Class of 2020, and it was announced last month that his longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be his presenter.
"I am very honored. I can tell you that," LeBeau told Varley. "I was so thrilled and happy for Troy when he got selected. I thought it would be unbelievably great if I was there just to see it. It was just so important to me that Troy go in, and that he got in with the first opportunity that was available to him. I had been telling everyone for five years that Troy would go in on the first chance he had because he was that great and certainly deserves it.
"Troy has a lot of people in his life. I would have understood wherever he went. I was over the moon when he did call and say he would like me to present him."
Polamalu always had a close relationship with LeBeau, who was the defensive coordinator for all but one of Polamalu's 12 seasons with the Steelers. Like Polamalu, LeBeau is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player. LeBeau was a cornerback for the Lions in the 1960s and recorded 62 career interceptions, which is 10th all-time.
"Our players were like my sons. You saw it, you know personally how close we were as a defense. It's going to be great putting your son in there," LeBeau said of presenting Polamalu into football immortality.
The Steelers' defenses led by LeBeau were such a tight unit. Their chemistry and camaraderie were impeccable, and they all held LeBeau in such high regard.
"I think there are many situations like that on that defense where we were so close to each other," LeBeau said. "They were extremely talented and were so successful. That 2008 defense, I don't know if anybody will put numbers up like that ever again. It was such an honor and a blessing to be a part of that.
"I think in the situation with Troy, his particular talent and ability matched up perfectly with the way I like to attack on defense. I think it was just a perfect union."
It will also be a perfect Steelers celebration in Canton this summer with Polamalu, Bill Cowher and Donnie Shell being enshrined as members of the Class of 2020 on Aug. 7, and Alan Faneca as a member of the Class of 2021 on Aug. 8. In addition, Bill Nunn was enshrined in April as a member of the Class of 2021 and will be recognized during the ceremony, as well.