(Photo of Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Former Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu, who will be officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, now lives out in Southern California with his wife, Theodora, and two sons, Paisois and Ephraim.
While Polamalu is enjoying retirement and more time with his family in Southern California, he's also training NFL draft prospect safety Talanoa Hufanga, who played safety at USC.
Lehigh Steinberg is Hufanga's agent and he posted a photo on Twitter in January of Hufanga and Polamalu together.
“I’m very grateful for him in my life," Hufanga said of Polamalu ahead of USC's pro day on Wednesday via Adam Grosbard of the Orange County Register. "Getting to learn from him is unbelievable. When it comes to something I learned from him, it’s so many things.”
Hufanga first met Polamalu in high school when training with Vai Sikahema, the first Tongan to play in the NFL. Sikahema asked Hufanga who he liked to model his game after, and Hufanga said he didn’t model after anyone, but his favorite player to watch was Polamalu.
Sikahema got Hufanga connected to Polamalu and he began to utilize the Hall of Famer as a resource through FaceTime or phone calls. When Hufanga declared for the NFL draft following his junior season, he asked Polamalu if he could train with him to get ready for the next level.
“When I asked if it was possible if I could train with him, it was something that he took thought into and ultimately said yes,” Hufanga said. “I’ve been off social media for three years and getting to have those conversations with him. I think that’s [why] he kinda knows that when I meant I was all-in, I was all-in.”
Hufanga says training with Polamalu has been really good for him mentally.
“I think a lot of it is just training with him, being able to comprehend what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” Hufanga said. “I think that’s the most important thing, is being authentic, showing your true character, being very detail-oriented in what we do. Whether it’s the diet, whether it’s the training, whether it’s the hydration, the sleep, when you do all those things it kinda comes together.
“When you make that the most important part of your life, just being obedient, nothing can really stop you.”
Below is a scouting report on Hufanga by The Draft Network. Hufanga is projected to be a Day 2 pick in the draft.
"Talanoa Hufanga was a versatile defender for the Trojans defense. He is a safety by trade but has aligned in multiple places due to his diverse skill set. He is a violent tackler who seems to enjoy the physical aspect of the game. His mental aptitude allows him to easily align in multiple places. He has made strides in the passing game, evidenced by his four interceptions this season. He is an instinctive player who plays the game with a violent edge."