If you are one of the people that thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers should move on from safety Troy Polamalu you should know that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau still thinks that the defensive playmaker has some good football left in him.
LeBeau told Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in a recent interview that Polamalu might have “several more years” left in him if he can stay healthy.
“He has a lot of tremendous football talent still in him,” LeBeau said, via the Robinson story. “Once he got back on the field, I couldn\’t see any difference in his play than when he was winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. … I know Troy will do everything he can to get himself physically ready to compete for a 16-game season. And we\’ll have to wait and see (if he can).”
Polamalu, who is under contract through the 2014 season, missed nine games last season due to a serious calf injury, but played well once he returned and knocked the rust off. Moving forward, the Steelers always need to be prepared for their former Defensive Player of the Year to miss playing time as he has only started in all 16 games just four times during his 10 year career. Not counting his rookie season Polamalu has started 98 of 144 regular season games. That means he has missed 32% of them over a 9 year span.
The Steelers will almost certainly draft a safety at some point during the upcoming 2013 NFL draft, but that player, no matter how high or low he is drafted, will be lucky to see the field outside of special teams during his rookie season.
Having Polamalu, who I am told is already training like a madman this offseason, on the field for the entire 2013 season is a must. If they can get two more productive seasons out of him that would be even better as that would give the young safety drafted this year plenty of time to get up to speed and learn from one of the best that has ever played the position.
Like LeBeau said, “we\’ll have to wait and see (if he can).”