Pittsburgh Steelers second-year safety Shamarko Thomas had one heck of an offseason experience as he was fortunate enough to train out in California with his mentor Troy Polamalu.
Upon arriving to Latrobe Friday for the start of training camp, Thomas talked about the opportunity to work with the eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time First-Team All -Pro.
“It was an amazing experience learning from that guy,” said Thomas. “Not just working out but his mentality. The way he goes about his day and takes care of his family.”
In addition, Thomas also explained how the training that Polamalu puts himself through is really unique and unlike anything he’s ever witnessed before.
“It was like a karate movie,” said Thomas. “It’s ninja like stuff. It works for him and I thought it worked for me too.”
Polamalu missed all of the OTA practices this year in order to stay back home in California and presumably train under the guidance of his longtime trainer Marv Marinovich. Last offseason, Polamalu reportedly also started working with a new physical therapist in order to finally get past the calf problems that had plagued him for several seasons prior. Whatever he did, it worked as the veteran safety played every single snap in 2013 after missing nine games in 2012.
Thomas had his own injury problems during his rookie season as an ankle injury suffered in the Week 10 game against the Buffalo Bills forced him to miss the next two games. As a result of him being sidelined, Thomas lost his spot in the Steelers sub packages to veteran safety Will Allen. Allen never relinquished the job back and the Syracuse product never played another down on defense the remainder of the season.
This year, Thomas will battling Allen for the No. 3 safety spot and he hopes his time spent with Polamalu training and talking about life in addition to X’s and O’s has prepared him for that. He indicated Friday that he told Polamalu that he “wants to be great.”
“He explained what it takes to be great. He said you have to show by actions first, by being mature and how you carry yourself off the field.”
Thomas will get his first opportunity Saturday to show what he can do on the fields of Saint Vincent College as that’s when the first training camp practice will take place.