(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Steelers Hall of Fame strong safety Troy Polamalu sat down with Tiki & Tierney of CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to talk about a myriad of things. One of them being the Steelers 3-0 start to the season and the performance of Ben Roethlisberger, who had elbow surgery last year and missed all but six quarters of the 2019 season. Polamalu isn't surprised at all by what he's seen from his former teammate so far in 2020.
“No, Ben’s always been so great in overcoming doubt from people and winning in underdog circumstances,” Polamalu said on Tiki & Tierney. “And really the organization as a whole, I think the success that they’ve had this year is just really a continuation of a great tradition that they have there in Pittsburgh. I think this year, so far, they are in great position.”
Polamalu spent 12 years with the Steelers organization and knows the standard and expectations that come with being a Steeler. Every year Steelers fans expect the team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, or at the very least make the playoffs.
“The sentiment within the organization has always been, ‘Just get us to the playoffs, and that’s when we’ll really shine,” Polamalu said. “When they make statements like they have so far earlier this season, it just seems like more and more great things are going to come from the team.”
Polamalu also talked about playing for both Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin in his 12-year career and some of the differences between the two head coaches.
"My whole 12 years was a tremendous experience," Polamalu said of his career with the Steelers. "I had coach LeBeau for the 11 of my 12 years, absolute Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame coach. Same with Coach Cowher, I think that everybody within the organization knew how special Coach Cowher was and that he'd be in the Hall of Fame as well. But then for Coach Tomlin come in under different circumstances, following Chuck Noll, following Coach Cowher, both Hall of Fame coaches and truly to watch a development of another Hall of Fame coach.
"I think it was really a blessing for me to see that development from him coming in his first year, second year winning the Super Bowl and then his fourth year going to another Super Bowl. And just to see the continuation of success really is about his message and how he preaches to the team and his consistent message of excellence, of maintaining the standard.
It's been a huge blessing for me to play under both coaches."
Polamalu was asked what it would feel like if he played in front of no fans and the Hall of Fame safety said it really wouldn't have affected his play on the field.
"It wouldn't make a difference to me," Polamalu said about playing in front of no fans. "I never really thrived off the fanaticism that surrounded the game of football, but really enjoyed playing the game of football. I enjoyed practicing I think more than I enjoyed playing in the games. I was the kid that enjoyed playing Thanksgiving football, playing by myself football. To me, that sort of fan interaction really wasn't something that drove me to play harder or anything. So, I don't think it would have made too much of a difference for me."
The interview ended with Barber asking Polamalu when was the last time that he got a haircut.
"Man, I want to say almost 20 years since I cut my hair," Polamalu said. "Same with my children since they've been born, I got a 10 and 11-year-old, soon-to-be 12-year-old. Two sons that both haven't cut their hair as well. So, I guess it's just maybe come more of a family trademark for us as well.
Barber followed by asking Polamalu why he hasn't cut his hair in almost twenty years and if it's based on anything.
"Well, first of all, my mother-in-law's a big classics major, ancient Greek and studied a lot of history, one thing that she always said that I really like to repeat is 'All the great warriors throughout history had long hair,'" Polamalu said. "It's something that I really enjoyed, you know, kind of exercising that inner warrior going out on the field. I don't know what it really stems from. I haven't cut my hair since I met my wife as well."
You can listen to the entire Polamalu interview with Tiki & Tierney in the link below.