While he might not have shown up in the same shape that he was when he came out of USC many moons ago, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu still looked to be in pretty good shape for the first OTA session of the 2013 season that got underway on Tuesday. However, during his talk with the media following practice, Polamalu revealed that the calf injury that forced him to miss nine games last season has bothered him for the last four years.
Polamalu was first asked by the Pittsburgh media if there is anything that he can do to ward off the calf injury moving forward.
“Yeah, I\’ve done quite a few different things this off-season,” Polamalu said. “So, yeah, for sure there is. A lot of different rehab and training.”
When pressed further to explain his rehab and training, that\’s when the Steelers veteran revealed that the calf injury has bothered him for several years.
“When you have an injury that\’s bothered you for the last four years, there gets to be just so much scar tissue in there,” said Polamalu. “If you don\’t attack the problem scar tissue, then your just going to continue to have problems.
“So this year I really focused on that and found a great physical therapist and obliviously continue to keep working with my trainer. So everything has evolved there and evolved nicely.”
Polamalu was then asked to explain the process of breaking up the scar tissue.
“Not to get too deep into muscular biomechanics, you can break down scar tissue, but the problem is your body has to continue to learn how to readapt with broken scar tissue,” Polamalu said. “These are all things that I\’ve learned. So hopefully all of this make these problems obsolete.”
So now that it appears that Polamalu knows how to deal with the injury, is he confident that he\’s is over it?
“Listen, if I knew the future, I would be playing that Powerball,” said the 2010 AP Defensive Player of the Year. “Only time will tell.”
When asked if he now has to approach his off-season training differently the older that he gets, Polamalu answered somewhat philosophically.
“Well, time\’s not stale. You have to continue to evolve as time evolves and your career evolves, your body evolves. I think when you become stale in that way, it\’s just kind of a redundant day. Like I go and I do my workout. I think that\’s where danger comes, at least that\’s from my experience.”
Polamalu refused to look in the rear-view mirror, however, when asked if he was disappointed that he missed so many games last season.
“It was very disappointing, but its a new year,” said Polamalu. “I don\’t dwell on that as much as I dwell on other bad things or other good things.”
Everyone knew that the Steelers would address the safety position at some point during the 2013 NFL Draft and they did in the fourth-round when they selected Shamarko Thomas out of Syracuse. Polamalu was asked to give his thoughts on Thomas later in his talk with the media.
“He\’s a great, great kid,” said Polamalu. “Very humble, willing to learn and what\’s nice is he\’s got people around him that are wanting to teach him. Everything that I can give him, all of the experience of football, all I have, and I tried my best to convey that to him to keep him from maybe having to overcome a lot of the mistakes that I\’ve had in my career.”
So does Polamalu think that Thomas is ready to take all of that on?
“Absolutely,” shot back Polamalu. “That\’s what we all enjoy about him.”
I think that was probably the most the media has gotten out of Polamalu in some time now and to get him to talk so in-depth about his calf injury was pretty astonishing. It is good to see that he has changed things up now and hopefully it leads to him playing all 16 games this year.
In addition to him talking about his rehab, it was also good to hear his thoughts on Thomas and we can only hope that the Syracuse product can become half the safety that Polamalu was in his prime.