(Photo by George Gojkovitch/Getty Images)
On the day before Troy Polamalu's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Ryan Clark released an episode on his podcast Face First titled “Bigger Than The Hall Of Fame” that featured Polamalu and Ike Taylor.
It was a really entertaining episode as Clark, Polamalu and Taylor talked about their years together in the secondary for the Steelers and the close brotherhood that those teams had.
One of the most interesting talking points that the trio discussed had to do with the late Sean Taylor, who Clark was a teammate with in Washington. Clark asked Polamalu and Taylor what they remembered of Taylor from his rookie season when the Steelers played Washington in Week 12 of the 2004 season.
"So, for me, Sean Taylor it was watching him at Miami (University Fla.)," Taylor said. "And then when you watch his documentary after he passed, it was dang the man was on I-four going 7-8 miles to a spot so he'll tell his homeboys, 'Man, I'll meet y'all, but I'll meet y'all jogging on the interstate.' So you then just backtrack and you look at it like dang Sean Taylor in my mind, and this (is) no disrespect to nobody else, probably could have been one of the best if he would have played 10-12 years, one of the best NFL players of all-time. Just looking at his talent at a short amount of time.
"And then playing against him, I remember we would sit on the sidelines on one knee watching him play, 'OK, let's see this Miami first-round kid.'"
Polamalu also remembered vividly the game against Washington and Taylor in 2004.
"The old school players really respect special teams. ... In regards to that game, man, that's what impressed me most," Polamalu said of Taylor. "He played all the special teams, but he dominated every facet of the game. It was not only like dominating the plays, but he also had a physical presence that was extremely dominance. Like, 'I'm here, this is my house.'
In regards to him in particular as a player. I to me, when I study the game, I study the pass game. Like, I'm naturally a linebacker. Honestly, man, those flows, hitting gaps, that's very easy for me. The run game was something that was very instinctual to me. I studied the pass game.
"When I look at someone like him, it's amazing because he had the feel of the run game that I had. He had the feel of the pass game that Ed (Reed) had. But not only was he able to do both of those, he was also able to lock down the number one receiver as a corner. So to me, that was the next evolution, or perhaps a reincarnation of somebody like Ronnie Lott, but then you have a 6-3, 6-4 (225-230-pound safety). I always tell people, man, don't ever watch his film because it's misleading. You can't duplicate that sort of thing. I watched it, but I was more in awe and waiting for him to make a mistake to see that he was human. I remember one play in particular where he was man-to-man with Chad Ochocinco and picked the ball off. Not a pass breakup, but picked the ball off. When I got in those situations, the quarterback was like (I'm throwing at No. 43). That's the difference."
Polamalu also said that Taylor was like Lawrence Taylor special and Joe Greene special. And wondered what it would have been like to see Taylor and LaRon Landry as a safety duo for multiple years in Washington.