Bouchette: ‘I’d Guess’ Still Some Bad Blood For Troy Polamalu Over How Steelers Handled Things

It has been two and a half years now since Troy Polamalu last played football. He played the entirety of what will inevitably be canonized as a Hall-of-Fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he played proudly for the city, giving everything on the field. Yet that doesn’t mean that he has the greatest relationship with the front office right now.

I think most are aware that while Polamalu retired after the 2014 season, he did so somewhat under duress, or at least under the very strong urging from the front office. It seems readily apparent that he believed that he could still play, but the Steelers were ready to move on, and presumably ‘coaxed’ him into retiring.

We have heard and written about Polamalu’s disappointment over the whole situation. He was recently honored at his alma mater and got to meet up with fellow alumnus, Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, while there. I also saw him with Brett Keisel recently.

But he hasn’t been seen, according to Ed Bouchette, near the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex or at Heinz Field since he and the Steelers parted ways. He said this during a chat yesterday when asked if Polamalu still had his issues with the team for how they handled the end of his career.

“I’d guess yes”, he said at the end of his answer after noting the lack of his presence surrounding anything involving the team since his player career came to an end. He was honored at a Pirates game, and that has been about his only ‘public’ appearance in the city that I am aware of.

It is unfortunate to read about one of the greats in the history of such a storied franchise having his issues with the team for which he played, but Polamalu is not the first—even with the Steelers—and he won’t be the last, either.

I also don’t think this cold shoulder is one that will last between himself and the organization; or at least I hope. He is never going to be one to make frequent public appearances. He is simply not that kind of person, generally reserved in his personal life.

But I am hopeful that in time he will make peace with how things ended and come back into the fold, at some point. He doesn’t need to be Jerome Bettis, but it would be good to see him, and hear from him, every once in a while.

It is understandable if that would take time. Polamalu was not ready to hang it up. He had just signed a two-year contract extension and was no doubt planning on seeing at least another year. He played 12 games in 2014, recording 61 tackles with a forced fumble, but just one pass defensed. He had five forced fumbles, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and two sacks the year before in 16 games.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Exactly how long did Troy expect the Steelers to keep trotting him out there? That’s about as gentle as is gets when you are fired. Don’t be the modern Terry Bradshaw, Troy.

  • NinjaMountie

    It’s a shame that there is animosity from Troy. I would think an intelligent person, as Troy is, would understand that the team has to do what’s best for the team. It was time for him to step down. He wasn’t salary friendly enough to keep around as Harrison has made himself.
    I feel that the Steelers organization handled that about as well as it could be done.

  • francesco

    Loved Troy just as much as HWard.
    I feel both of them were given a harsh unwelcome.

  • Steeler Nation!

    He’d have to shoot off at the mouth to be a modern Bradshaw. I loved Bradshaw the player but he’s always had trouble when his mouth opened.

    Troy had some seasons with injury issues and came back the next looking like the best defensive player in the game. I’m guessing he thought he could do that one more time.

  • Steve

    Asking a player or coach to “Hang it up” is a tricky situation and the Steelers have had to do this numerous times as All teams do. Many times people want to have one more year to show they can still do the job and it’s got to be tuff for parting ways. Steelers need to do a better job of this, cause the media gets hold of it and does not make them look very good. Especially with the Steelers, Coach Arians was said to be retiring. He never retired. We don’t need false news like this makes Steelers look bad.

  • capehouse

    It’s not like we’ve had a logjam of capable players at Safety since Troy left. Will Allen and Robert Golden weren’t setting the league on fire. We basically gave Shamarko Thomas a roster spot because he was a good gunner, although he made some bone headed plays at that position too, over keeping Troy. If Troy thought he could play and was forced to retire I think he deserves to be pissed. He was done being an impact player but he still lead the team in tackles his last game in the playoff loss to the Ravens. Steelers botched the exit of a Hall of Famer.

  • capehouse

    Steelers only saved $3.75 mil by having him retire. Arthur Moats makes $2.88 mil this year. I’d take Troy right now over Moats

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Safe to say he was beloved by all. Toward the end of his career as his skills diminished, it seemed as if the D was better with someone who freelanced less and played within the parameters of the D. If he would have taken a cut would it have been worth another year or two? If even in some reduced role?

  • NinjaMountie

    3.75 is a good portion of money. That wasn’t my point, though. He was owed, I believe, over 8 million dollars if he would have played that year. He wasn’t worth it. I loved him, but he wasn’t worth that money. You’re going to have to eat dead money at some point.

  • mem359

    I don’t know if it was Bouchette or another reporter, but I remember an article soon after the TP retirement that claimed he was mad at the team, and as proof pointed out that he was not at some team function in Pittsburgh with other former players.

    Ignored the fact that Troy was just starting a trip to China as part of a Steelers goodwill tour (so probably didn’t want to fly CA-PA-CA-China on consecutive days). I don’t doubt that he has regrets, but it feels like this is being blown out of proportion.

  • Steeler Nation!

    I agree in that I would’ve been fine with hearing “Bruce Ariens fired as OC”. His firing extended #7s career to the point that we are championship contenders now. He wouldn’t have survived these build up years in Ariens system.
    For Troy though, it’s a little different. He’s a legendary player. We are always ok with it when a player calls it quits. But if the organization says it’s time, they kind of get a black eye. I think he was mostly washed up, and the team made a shrewd business decision. As much as I didn’t LIKE it, it was probably the right decision.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I hope that the Steelers fan’s appreciation for Troy outlasts any antipathy he has for the Steelers organization.

  • Conserv_58

    Not me. Troy is 36.

  • Steeler Nation!

    The hunting trip is a good sign!

  • NW86

    That’s the danger of looking just at 1-year cap charges/savings in a vacuum. They saved 3.75M in cap charges THAT year (2015) by eating the rest of his signing bonus proration in one year and removing any dead money from 2016. But they actually saved his entire $6M salary in both cash and cap – the cap savings were just spread over 2015 and 2016. And in 2015 they were very tight against the salary cap.
    Moats makes $2.25M in 2017, a year when they weren’t that tight against the cap.

  • Steve

    Would have been fine hearing Arians was fired and you are correct that it extended Ben life as a Steeler. The lies is what I have a problem with, just tell the truth.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    People forget that he was guessing wrong to many times his last season. Not anticipating the play but often spinning one way with a the receiver going the other. Great player, maybe they could have played him one more year but I always tend to keep folks beyond their shelf life as players.

  • Conserv_58

    Troy and Hines may have felt they had another year or two left in them, but IMO, they were in denial and thus had a very difficult time admitting to themselves that it was better to leave the game when they did.

  • capehouse

    I’d have to look back but since Troy retired and wasn’t a post June 1st cut the Steelers took his full cap hit that year, so they saved $3.75 off his $8.25 cap hit that year.

  • capehouse

    Sure. I just think something could’ve worked out. We’re paying Deebo almost $2 mil to sit on the bench, although he’s still the best pass rusher we have and Troy had clearly lost a step or two.

  • NinjaMountie

    Was there an attempt? Did Troy not want to take a pay cut? Did the org not offer one? I don’t know if any of these things happened or not.
    I just thought it was time to let him go and I figure that will never be easy on either side.

  • Conserv_58

    Watching him play his last year was tough sometimes because it was easy to see that he could no longer cover ground like he used to. He was relying heavily on his intelligence and experience to make plays. A lot of guys at that stage of their playing careers have a hard time admitting to themselves that the don’t have it anymore. Their pride can’t come to terms with knowing it’s over. Hines was the same way. Hopefully it won’t be long before Troy is seen at Steelers team functions such as alumni weekend.

  • NinjaMountie

    Yeah, it was clearly time for him to take a seat. It’s always sad when the greats aren’t able to go anymore. The saddest thing is that it always happens when they are young. 30’s is not old. You can still do everything that you used to do. You just can’t do it at the level professional sports require.

  • Conserv_58

    Using Deebo as an example to compare to isn’t even close because Deebo’s situation is unique.

  • ImMikeD

    I know retirement was for different reasons, but Jack Lambert isn’t much of a fixture since his retirement in Pittsburgh and especially around the Steelers. Yet, the Steelers fans revere and adore him. In that context, I can’t see the fan’s ever giving up. I only hope that if Troy can’t mend the fences with the organization, he at least sees his way to give us fans a little love

  • Conserv_58

    Your last sentence is the exact reason why NFL player’s careers have a short shelf life. QB’s and Kickers are the only ones that can play late into their thirties and forties and still be productive.

  • NW86

    Agreed. Troy has never said anything about it, which leaves the media to speculate. Media speculation always goes beyond reality. Troy may have been miffed/hurt a bit, but nobody really knows.
    I’m a Steelers fan and a Troy fan, but I don’t particularly care what Troy’s exact relationship between Troy and the Steelers brass is. Frankly it’s none of my business. I’m still going to be a fan of both.

  • NW86

    Right, and $2.25M dead money came off of 2016 cap. $6M savings.

  • Conserv_58

    Most fans that saw the Steelers of the 70’s play also know that Jack Lambert was a lone wolf in his private life. He despised the limelight and being interviewed. It explains why he took a job as a forest ranger after retiring. Deebo is a lot like Jack.

  • ImMikeD

    I agree, but you just described Troy as well (minus the forest ranger).

  • Darth Blount 47

    If we are looking for parallels, there are some to be found. The great debate between the selfish love you have for an animal, versus the incredible anguish of having to put them down. Can you coax one more year out of them? Will God let you? But is it wise? And for what purpose, truly?

    I may be in the minority, but I think Troy had one more year left in him. That said, I can’t or won’t deny, that watching him go from his penultimate year to the last one, was hard to watch. And though I was heartbroken to see the career end, I understood. But when Troy came out and said that he had more in the tank, I was instantly torn. For this was like a dog being able to tell you that he isn’t in as much pain as you think, and he still can bring immense joy in some facet, for a whole ‘nother year. How can you turn your back on that? Business. That’s the only real justification. Business. But don’t fool yourself, it has ramifications. As is clearly being seen and felt, now, across Steeler Nation.

    The current and obvious parallel is Ben. Many already have his obituary in the typewriter (do those still exist? Lol). Some with shovels in hand, I’ve seen more people than I ever thought possible, also ready to walk Ben into the glue factory themselves. A starting Safety like Troy can have a tremendous impact upon a football team. But a QB? There is absolutely no comparison. What Big Ben means to this team, should never be understated. But when we see the likes of Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, some of us start to salivate. Look at the new puppy, we say. Isn’t he soo cute?! And then we look to our old, worn, but still fighting boy in the corner on the rug, and we ask ourselves: “Can you coax one more year out of them? Will God let you? But is it wise? And for what purpose, truly?”

    The consideration had to be made, and perhaps for Troy’s own sake, even though it was hard to take, that he still be able to get around pretty well in his old age. Bettis talks about how hard he assumed it would be, when he extrapolated how he felt after the game-days toward the end, with how he’d feel 10 or 20 years later. And it terrified him. That balanced decision between letting Troy have one more, versus knowing Troy was going out quite healthy, was that delicate dance that adults have to do everyday around the world. Luckily for us, we aren’t talking about life or death. And because we aren’t, I can’t wait until we can see Troy a bit more often, and occasionally sporting our beautiful colors again. The great thing for us is, Troy was a legend for multiple reasons. Unlike Rod Woodson, Troy ONLY wore Steeler colors. And because of that, and many other reasons, it will be a wondrous thing that we all know is coming, the day he gets to make the shortest speech in Hall of Fame history, in Canton. We’re all guaranteed that opportunity to pack the stadium and cheer Troy on — one more glorious time.

    And in the end, when Ben retires, and his silent and not-so-silent detractors have their wish, my hope is that he doesn’t go the same way as Bradshaw, or I guess even Troy, but instead like The Bus. Or Franco. Or Mel. Or many other Steeler legends that I can name — who wave their Terrible Towels proudly and consistently. Just like I think and would bet Troy still does, in the heart of his man cave, on Steeler football Sundays.

  • ImMikeD

    And neither here, nor there, I was only referring to the fans loyalty to the players

  • bob_1

    QB’s, kickers, and Deebo.

  • Conserv_58

    Troy is indeed a private person, but he’s not like, Lambert. Lambert didn’t like people. Troy does. Troy was much more amiable with the press during his playing career. Lambert treated the press with utter contempt and disdain. I don’t remember ever seeing Lambert endorse products either.

  • Conserv_58

    Troy will always be revered as much as Jack is.

  • ImMikeD

    That, my friend, was my point. I wasn’t comparing the men

  • Richard Gray

    There was nothing holding Troy back for playing for another team if he could find one who felt he could still contribute. We’ve had a couple examples of that over the years. Aside from that, I’m really, really tired of sportswriters trying to start controversies. With all due respect, if Mr. Marczi would like to see Troy around more, I suggest he talk to Troy, not to Ed Bouchette.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Fact is that both troy and heath could have played one more year each. Troy was semi forced out. Heath left of his own volition. Both were not hindrances to them ten at the time of their departure.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Hines was more done than troy was imo. Troy was more comparable to heath. Not a spectacular player anymore, but solid enough to have one more go and go out with a bang.

    I met troy again in 2015 with Jeff reed and Brett keisel when he did a charity flag football event. Talked with him for about ten minutes. You could tell he still had a passion to be on the field. He was still fast as all get out.

  • NinjaMountie

    Troy was done. D-O-N-E. Done.
    I would have hated to have seen Troy trotted out there one more year. It was hard enough watching his last year.

  • NinjaMountie

    I see Ben as a good example as far as situation. Reasons….not the same. Ben hasn’t lost the physical ability to play his position. Honestly, he should be better now than ever. Arm strength hasn’t deteriorated at all and he’s got experience. Ben’s problems are between his ears. He needs to get that straight, lol.
    That being said, not performing is not performing. If Ben doesn’t improve, or is lukewarm on playing, he needs to call it quits.

  • Smitty 6788

    Loved Troy on the field I will never say a bad word about the guy. He was an all time great can’t wait until he gets his Gold Jacket.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    He wasnt stellar but could still have been used as a situational player. I love will Allen and thought he had a decent year but there was no reason troy couldn’t have done what will gay is doing now.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Steve smith, Dwight freeney, Julius peppers, Larry Fitzgerald, Jonathon stewart and a few others outside that played well into their 30s.

  • Cavallonator

    I’m 28 and Polamalu is the best Steeler I’ve ever seen.For them to push him out is crazy to think, but even worse when it is to give Shamarko or Will Allen a shot. Steelers FO is normally pretty good at this, but this guy is the best of a generation. Deserved much better.

    Think if Ben has a 5 int game or just blows it in the playoffs against the Pats they force him out as well for Landry or Dobbs to get a shot? haha I think NOT!

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Disagree. At a worst they could have kept him in a will gay type situational role as I said below. Have to remember troy was injured in 2014 and still put up okay numbers.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Will Allen was not the same boat as sham…arko. Will Allen is a great dude, was a good locker room guy, and decent on the field. Not to mention his off the field work is even more respectable than most of the others in the NFL. Sham…arko on the other hand was a poor player. As rough as troy was with injury and declining play at the time he still smoked thomas.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    A sometimes wrong troy was still better than thomas.

  • Iulo

    I think most of the fans agree with what you are describing here… Troy wasn’t the same and was playing average at best. FO decision was right. So the question here is, how was that last talk with the FO? how was he fired/retired? Did he tried to stay even with a paycut?
    so, same issues as with Ward, but Ward has another personality and he got over it quickly. Maybe Troy will never.

  • pittfan

    +100.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    No pay cut stories were ever reported. Troy said he wanted to come back. Then they team tried to get him to retire. Troy came out and said he wanted to keep playing. About oh 90 days passed and then the team cut him.

  • bob_1

    Not to mention Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Kevin Green, all of whom continued to have double digit sacks into their late 30’s.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    I disagree with that. Don’t think Haley saved Ben’s career. Munchak did imo.

  • LifeUhhFindsAWay

    Obviously Troy is a legendary player. But what made him great was his ability to be a wild card, to line up all over the field and cover lots of ground with offenses never knowing where he would be. With the defense getting long in the tooth and getting called ‘old and slow’, that was sadly a part of it. Those last couple years Troy was treated more like a linebacker, playing a lot in the box. That’s not what made Troy, Troy. I’m sure he could have ‘played’ but could not do all of things he did before. That’s also the reason Harrison lasted a few more years, he can still do his specialty, rush the passer, stop the run. Hopefully Troy softens over time as I think it was purely a football move and it would be great to see him around the team.

  • NinjaMountie

    Troy couldn’t have covered me by the time he retired. Of course, I mean me when I was young. I’d get shut down by a jr. high DB now.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    All I’m saying is average troy was better than sham…arko. and like I said I saw troy on June 7th 2015 and he was still blazing fast. His injury in 2014 I believe hampered him.

  • Darth Blount 47

    That’s quite the hard argument to make, that someone has somehow lost the mental ability, at age 35. But I understand your perspective. It’s funny to me though, because I see people making all sorts of judgments as to why Ben is having a “down year,” even though we are 6-2. And many of them seem to BE of that physical variety, when they talk about conditioning or overthrowing/underthrowing, etc..

    My argument has been, as I’m sure you’ve read, that most of it is actually a 3-prong combo. 1st, that Jax game skewers the stats, badly. 2nd, he has either had WR’S/TE’s drop both wide open TD’s, or have sure TD’s go inches off of their fingertips. And 3rd… PFF claims that Big Ben played the TOUGHEST QB schedule through the first half. The absolute toughest. According to them, he now has the 8th easiest to close the season. So I look for a big rebound. As I guess did a lot of others, even his detractors, since on the Friday 5 Question, most were predicting a big spike in TD’s and few Int’s.

    As far as the whole “he may want to retire” type of narrative, I hope Ben plays till I’m much older and grayer. Personally. I’m in ZERO rush to find out what life is like post-Ben.

  • NinjaMountie

    Business decisions happen. He wasn’t worth his salary. I just hope there isn’t too many hard feelings between them.

  • NinjaMountie

    I actually agree with everything you said. Though, he doesn’t appear to be the same. My reasoning is that I see absolutely no drop off in physical ability. Lets face it. He was never the best conditioned athlete, lol. I’ve never bought into the “he’s fat” camp. It’s obvious that he isn’t doing a regimented cardio and fitness program, though.
    Anyway, I digress, since there is no physical problem the only other thing it could be is between his ears. I’m not talking offensive issues…just his issues. I also don’t think he’s lost the mental ability. If there is anything, and I’m not saying this is the problem, it would be the loss of desire.
    Personally, I think he’s just in a slump. Those happen.
    I think he’ll definitely play out his contract.

  • NinjaMountie

    Good decision by the team. Sad for Troy and Steeler Nation.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    We all watched Troy lose a step before our eyes, which was uncomfortable. He didn’t have the closing speed he once did, and was whiffing on tackles as a result. It was the final sign to fans that the “old guard” on defense had to change.

    Maybe the only argument to make is this: Was it on the Steelers to at least attempt to adjust Troy’s role in the defense to suit his skills and abilities? Did they toss out too much good with the bad? Troy, I imagine, had a hard time believing that he had gone from useful to washed up that quickly. Especially for all the years he laid it all out there for the team.

  • renoir

    The new Lambert it seems…

  • capehouse

    Yeah hard to answer those questions. Troy being mad makes me think he was willing to try tho.

  • capehouse

    Like I said pretty sure the $4.5 mil cap hit was all in 2015. If he played that year he would’ve had $2.25 left in prorated bonuses left in 2016.

  • AndyR34

    This is critical info that we don’t know, but might affect our judgement. Nevertheless, IIRC, Troy took a large paycut when he agreed to the extension, in order to help provide cap relief. Then the Steelers cut him one year later. That’s a little bit dirty pool, IMHO. It is a business…I get that, but Troy gave 110% or more for so long.

  • LucasY59

    my biggest issue was that they moved on from Troy with Will Allen (who even at his best was only as good as a declining Polomalu) it seemed like a Tomlin going with his “guy” even though Troy shouldve been Coach T’s guy

  • Intense Camel

    I love troy but he was done. Sad but true.

  • Intense Camel

    He wasn’t even average Troy, that’s the point. He couldn’t tackle or cover. His declined was the catalyst of the terrible defenses to come.

  • SwagDaddy330

    Those guys didn’t rely on speed

  • AndyR34

    Right or wrong, I don’t think that Troy is the one that needs to ‘soften’…IMHO, it is the FO that needs to reach out and mend the fence.

  • bob_1

    I don’t think that the quarterbacks who saw them coming at them would agree.

  • Steeler Nation!

    I think the change in scheme has had a lot to do with it also. Haley has definitely pushed Ben to get the ball out quicker. No doubt draft investments and improved O Line coaching and play has all played a part.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    This needs to be resolved before he is enshrined in Canton.

  • LucasY59

    but that wasnt what Troy wanted…he wanted to play (at least) one more yr with the team he had played with his whole career.

    I have even more respect for him for deciding to retire instead of bounce around on different teams trying to play as long as he could

  • SeventhHeavan

    An older declining Polamalu is still better than Mitchell but the Steelers are ok with having Mitchell start…oh have our standards changed.

  • LifeUhhFindsAWay

    You may be right. If that’s the case hopefully they do that. After all they were willing to welcome Santonio back to retire as a Steeler and Troy just seems like even more of a icon of the team.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’m a huge Troy fan like most of us, but when the FO gave him that 2 yr deal…he was nowhere near the same player then…in fact I thought it was a nice retirement gift much like Brett, and Smith, Hampton, Ike, got. They kept all of them at least a season too long imo…but that’s another topic.

  • 6 ring circus

    I guess we all got used to the superhuman Troy. I think regular Troy would have been able to hold it down playing conventionally, but you are who you are and once Troy lost his superhuman abilities, his body couldn’t keep up with his mind. That’s always the time to exit stage left.

  • 6 ring circus

    I think they are doing the same with Deebo…rotating Moats before him is maddening. But, there’s eight games to go, so we will see what their ultimate plan for him is.

  • 6 ring circus

    Well said.

  • PaeperCup

    Troy is my all time favorite player. So it was hard watching his greatness turn to okay-ness around that time. I do believe that even at half speed Troy was a more than capable safety. But he was always hurt too. I would have liked to see him stick around, but at the same time I hope that Troy would understand that he’s wasn’t able to produce to the level that was wanted.

    Harrison is now in that situation, kept him around, now he’s on the bench. He can still come through in a pinch, but snaps will be far and in between.

  • RSteelerz

    I think that some of you are missing the point here. It’s not about the other players that you have available at the position such as Shamarko, but about what you think about the player in question which is Troy.

    I am with the Steelers Organization on this. What first needs to be looked at is the playing style of the player in question. In the cases of Troy and Hines, you had 2 players that played an extreme all out physical style of football.

    They took no plays off and played with wreckless abandon for 10 plus seasons. When identifying that is the type of player you have, the next thing you need to do is look at the eye test.

    What do your eyes tell you? With Troy and Hines the years of their all out physical play has taken it’s toll. The injuries were coming at a premium. You can see with your eyes that their bodies were broken down and could do no more.

    If you throw Harrison in the fray, your eyes tell you different. He may have lost a bit of explosiveness, but he doesn’t look like a shell of himself like Troy and Hines. Deebo’s issue is more so monitoring his conditioning but his body is holding up well.

    Many people here that feel that Hines and Troy could have held up for another 16 games are not paying attention to what is going on in the league today.

    Rodgers, Watt, Edelman, Watson, Luck, to name a few on a rash of players gone for the year. Hines and Troy were in the league for a long time and with the problems with concussions nowadays, one more season could have seriously put their health in danger.

  • PittShawnC

    I’ve always thought the day Troy retires would be the last he be around (save for a random appearance here and there). I was just always under the impression the the game of football was only a very small, short part of his life and am not too surprised he hasn’t been around.

  • JCLII

    Please remember, this isn’t Troy saying any of this, it is Ed Bouchette “guessing”. Troy was always a private person and i’m not surprised he’s stayed away from the team since he retired.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Good questions. I was hoping Ward would get another season too.

  • zeke

    Didn’t Dick L. try to get Troy to come over to the Titans?
    The Steelers had to move on and like most pointed out, it was painful to watch Troy try to do what he did so many years but failed the last couple of years.. Maybe it would of been different if he tried to be a box safety but he didn’t, he still tried to rely on his speed that he didn’t have anymore.
    One of my most favorite players, but it was time for the two to part ways..

  • capehouse

    A couple Safeties with the last name Woodson did pretty well in their late 30s. Rod was 38 and Charles was 39 in their last year.

  • capehouse

    So now Troy was just a speed guy?

  • Steve Johnson

    I’m glad ur not the GM; although moats isn’t a superstar like Troy was, Troy retired one year too late. Like they say, the athlete is the last one to admit their time has come. Troy was a Great Player, he made some wonderful plays on Defense that live forever. But his time was up, the F/O knew it as well, they made the right decision.

  • SwagDaddy330

    not saying that at all. but his game started with that. Once he lost the speed the rest of his game went with it – with the exception of his smarts

  • Zarbor

    Agreed. Love Pola as one of my all time favorite Steelers but that’s always the problem with several of the great ones. They don’t know when to hang them up. I can tell you from watching Pola in his last year, he was a shell of himself that year from the days when he was all world. He was fat, slow and couldn’t cover. To be paying him big money on top of that made no sense. The game had changed and what we needed from him he couldn’t give us anymore. No issues.

    For those claiming the Steelers are some how lying when a player or coach is urged to retire, you just don’t get it. What’s the lie? We think your time here has come and we respect your body of work for us and would prefer to have you retire your career as a Steeler only. That an honor not a lie.

    The reason it turns out that way in the media is because the people take it as a fire since they believe they have something left. They may be right, they may be wrong. What makes the Pola situation awful is that someone really thought that Shamarko would be a viable replacement. Boy did that look bad. Pola was still better than him. We are still struggling at that position.

  • Nick Sabatella

    Should have let him play at least another year. Clearly shamarko and will allen weren’t answers.

  • Conserv_58

    Deebo is a very unique and special cat. A lot of players played into their mid to late thirties, (Ray Lewis) but even Ray couldn’t physically hang with Deebo when he was in his last couple of years in the league.

  • Rocksolid20

    It was hard to watch Troy get beaten down the field
    or chasing a guy he was never going to catch that ran past him .
    He was one of my All-Time Steeler favs .

  • Conserv_58

    Troy and Hines were two elite players who’s brains were writing checks their bodies could no longer cash. It was sad to see that they both had to learn the hard way that their brilliant careers were over.

  • Conserv_58

    Troy was a sideline to sideline player in his first few years in the league. Hines was never fast, but he had enough game speed to get open on top of break several team receiving records.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Good post.

    Troy was finished…imo wasn’t deserving of a 2 yr ext for what $11 mil? He wasn’t a $5 mil player anymore…but he’s a legend, they wanted him to retire a Steeler so they gave him 2 yrs but imo really wanted to spread the signing bonus over two yrs.

    Troy was the SS and Sham was the hand picked successor, but Davis is legit…imo they’re not struggling at SS…but I know who you were referring to and I agree 100%

  • Conserv_58

    Didn’t they draft, Mike Wallace, A.B. and Sanders when Hines was in his last year or two?

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    All three were on the team in Hines last season (2011). Mike Wallace came in 2009 While AB & Emmanuel came in 2010.

  • Conserv_58

    Well drafted post. The saddest part of Shamarko’s career was he had the best possible situation a rookie could have ever hoped to have. He had former Steelers great, Carnell Lake as his position coach and a first ballot HOF player in Troy to mentor him. Even with all of that he failed miserably to secure a starting role as a safety. He and Anthony Smith, both from Syracuse, were huge disappointments. The only thing that Smith did that is memorable was getting his butt royally chewed out by coach LeBeau for show boating while running along the sideline.

  • Conserv_58

    Thanks. I thought so. Those draft selections should have been enough for Hines to realize that the Steelers were ready to move on.

  • Conserv_58

    IMO, the key reason for starting Moats over Deebo was because Deebo can’t cover any more. Joey Porter made that point quite clear in his recent interview regarding why he hasn’t been playing Deebo.

  • Mark

    Totally agree, all time great safety, however, father time caught up with him and he could no longer make plays that his mind said he could.

  • Mark

    NFL. Not For Long and he did it at a high level. I actually thought that he would be able to help the Syracuse safety Thomas and it never materialized.

  • Conserv_58

    Golden is better than Thomas was and we know where the bar is set with Golden.

  • Mark

    I agree Davis will become a legit SS along with my preference for Brian Allen to become a FS roaming the field and making interceptions and knocking down deep passes for years to come.

  • will

    The retirement” must have not been handled very well. However, he did not play for another team. So I would assume that tells us something.
    Remember Bruce Arians retiring? Certainly a different situation than a player……however, the “parting of ways” appeared to be “fumbled” too.

  • SwagDaddy330

    I agree.

  • Crowned

    He was definitely forced out of Pittsburgh. I can’t blame him for being a little sour after a hell of a career for it to end on the Steelers terms.

  • walter

    Wow as far as i remember he was never asked to take a paycut and i doubt he would have agreed to it so what did he expect to happen?

  • walter

    I disagree. Its possible Troy refused a pay cut. No way they could pay him that salary another season

  • walter

    My guess Troy would never take a pay cut

  • walter

    Not realy. Ike Taylor took a pay cut and Im sure others did if they wanted to keep playing

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’m sure that is true; but would have liked him to have a swan song season; plus some additional time to influence the young money gang. Loved the way he played.

  • walter

    Apparently not enough of a paycut to keep him another year.

  • Jason

    his wife and son were at the Giants game last year, I figured at some point he would show up he never did

  • Zarbor

    Shamarko was not very good and not sure how the scouts blew that one. He seemed to be a great guy personally. He worked hard and I have no doubt he did his best…..Unfortunately, his best was not NFL standard.

  • Zarbor

    Thanks. I made the correction

  • Intense Camel

    He was done.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Will Allen was fine. Sham…arko sucks.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    He tried to get ike to come over.

  • Intense Camel

    No way, he was done. Sorry.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Better than mitchell is pusbing it. But he was still better than thomas. Troy and will allen would have been a good pair.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Disagree. You could say that about Thomas but not allen.

  • westcoasteeler

    Exactly and it’s up to the Steelers to continue to reach out to Troy to bring him back in the fold. There is no way that shoudnt happen every day as his presence alone is good for one INT/game lol!

  • LucasY59

    its ok if you disagree with me, I disagree with you all the time…

  • Dave Walden

    I mean they could have cut Troy like they did Hines and Harrison (2013). I don’t understand what there is to be mad at. They wanted to move on but didn’t want to cut him so they pushed him to retire. It’s been 3 years now.. Time to get over it..

  • Keith Evans

    maybe he just wants to enjoy his retirement? Why does he have to keep showing up in Pittsburgh? Jack lambert keeps himself to himself?

  • capehouse

    They payed Timmons that bloated salary last year.

  • capehouse

    I’m glad I could care less what you think.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    fair enough. it is what it is.

  • Dan

    Look, I’m a huge Troy fan, as is everyone else in the Nation. But it was the end of the line. He had lost that mind-bending quickness and without that to cover up his wrong guesses, he was exposed. This isn’t something exclusive to the Steelers either. Lots of these older vets think they can put it together and still go. They aren’t usually right, save for a few instances. For every Steve Smith in purple or Brett Favre in Minnesota, there’s Franco as a Seahawk, or Manning’s last year in Denver (yeah they won the SB but Peyton was carried there, not the other way around)

  • Matthew Marczi

    I wasn’t the one who asked the question. And my writing doesn’t have wide enough reach to start anything resembling a controversy.

  • Steel Your Face

    I sure miss Troy and still cringe when I think about that Denver game when the back end was torched in OT. That was the beginning of the end, in my opinion.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Most players are the last to realize that their skills have eroded to the point of being a liability. Troy was done, irregardless of what was in the wings to replace him.

  • capehouse

    So easy to say that because of the reality. Troy’s displeasure of his retirement tells me differently and I’ll believe the player over the team every time.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    timmons didnt have a bloated salary. he had a bloated salary cap. his salary was 8 mill which was fair for what we got. his cap was 15.1 mill because of all the restructures.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    troys issue in 14 was that he got injured and he had recovered by the time the offseason came along. they could have easily waited another month and did him as a post june 1 cut

  • Michael Mosgrove

    davis isnt an ss. he’s an fs. mitchell is more the ss type but even then mitchell has about an 80% chance id say not to be here next year.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    he also had will allen as a positive role model and a decent player to learn the ins and outs of the position with after troy left and he was still terrible.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    yet deebo covered more than any other olb in the nfl last year if i remember right. someone had a graphic. espn, elias, football outsiders, someone.

  • Nah. He was a scapegoat for a lot of the Steelers defense woes. Yeah he made some mistakes but everyone does. I would estimate he had 2 years left. Sorry Troy on behalf of the large portion of Steelers nation that feels you were did dirty just as hines ward was

  • steelerfan

    I’ll always side with the club over an individual player. I was a fan of the Steelers decades before 43 and I’ll be one for decades after.

    That said, I’d like to see 43 and the Steelers be good with each other. Sometimes some pride has to be swallowed for that to happen.

  • will

    And yet Hines appears to have a good relationship with the Steelers.

  • will

    Shamarko was a 1000 rep. guy

  • will

    Or guarantee a win over Brady and the Pats. Smith was burnt toast that game.

  • will

    His wonderlic score was extremely low. Unfortunately he could not grasp the defense and took too many repetitions to finally get it…….he was the anti-Troy.

  • will

    Go view Lambert’s Hall of Fame induction speech.

  • will

    He endorsed “Smokey the Bear”

  • will

    Tell me more about how Franco went please.

  • will

    What if he “shuns” the Steelers in his acceptance speech?

  • capehouse

    Uhh is $8 mil not a bloated salary when I’m comparing it to an $8.25 mil salary that’s considered bloated?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    No. Because linebackers and safeties get paid differently and Timmons earned his money. You can’t compare different positions.

  • capehouse

    Lol ok

  • Intense Camel

    No he made a lot of mistakes, most of the physical variety. He was never a great cover guy and it got to the point where he couldn’t cover anybody and didn’t have the speed, quickness, or strength to tackle anybody in space. He no longer had the athleticism that allowed him to make the splash plays that made up for his risky style of play. He was the reason for most of the defensive woes.
    As a safety if you can’t cover or tackle then you’re useless, and he could do neither. Sorry if that upsets you but it’s true. Hines was done also. Their production did not justify there salaries and they refused to take pay cuts so the steelers had no choice. If you know this organization they like to hold on to their vets well past their primes, if they feel like you’re done then that pretty much means you’re done. If they still had something left then why weren’t they picked up by any other teams?

  • Aj Gentile

    Not at all

  • walter

    Yea but they didnt resign him. If Timmons was still under contract like Troy, im certain he would have been cut or asked to take a paycut. Troy was a cap casualty.

  • Conserv_58

    That doesn’t mean that Deebo can still cover in 2017. I’ll take what Joey Porter, Deebo’s position coach, says over what football outsiders or anyone else says.

  • Conserv_58

    Smith’s NFL career was burnt toast in the same way Ricardo Coclough’s, Alonzo Jackson’s and Jarvice Jones’ was. Colbert’s scouting team sure had their share of major blunders.

  • Conserv_58

    True that. It was well documented that Shamarko had a great deal of trouble grasping the cerebral part of the game. Shamarko admitted to always staying in touch with Troy even after Troy left so that he could get Troy’s advice. Shamarko suffered from a severe lack of self confidence.

  • Conserv_58

    He had his swan song season. It just wasn’t on his terms. As far as him having additional time to being an influence on the young money crew, Meh. There was plenty of film available for them to watch. Besides, Hines always had that “me against the world” chip on his shoulders and he also played the no respect card, (even though it became laughable) right to the end.

  • Conserv_58

    That’s a given.

  • Conserv_58

    Debbo is 39 years old, still playing at a high level, albeit sparingly, and isn’t breaking the bank either. What you seem to be forgetting is when in 2013, Deebo was looking for more money, the Steelers made him a fair and reasonable contract offer and Deebo turned it down because he and his agent foolishly thought his market value was much higher. Deebo ended up sitting at home and the phone never rang until just before training camps were beginning when the Bengals came calling. Deebo ended signing with them for the same amount the Steelers offered him. The only reason why Deebo didn’t take the Steelers offer after not receiving any other offers until the bengals called him was because of his stubborn pride. He was too embarrassed and prideful to admit that he was wrong.

  • Conserv_58

    If it was about money then I can’t side with Troy being disgruntled. He had the option to play for another team. I don’t see his being upset being about money. It was about his wanting to play more.

  • Mister Wirez

    Troy is just another one on the long disgruntled Ex-Steelers list. I just hope Troy’s not going to be another Bradshaw with his “life long/life’s work” grudge. Shame really.

    There’s plenty of coaches on that list too. Wisenhunt, Grimm, Lebeau, Arians, just thinking of a few recent ones off the top of my head.

  • capehouse

    That makes my point. They didn’t care enough about Timmons to resign him but they let him play his contract out at a base salary that didn’t match his ability. They coulda done that with Troy for at least a year.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    watching film is not the same as one on one interactions. I was very happy to see Hines Ward working with the WR’s at Latrobe this summer.

  • At that stage in their career and with their love of Pittsburgh why would they ever want to start over? No nothing you said upset me at all and I dont believe they were offered a paycut. Who has the Steelers hung on to for to long? Haggans? no. Foote? No. Maybe deshea townsend. Ward was a possession receiver never a speed guy. He Still had it and there are other positions then the #1 spot.Id rather have a Polamalu back there then a will Allen or a Shamarko Thomas and Id even throw Mike mitchell into that ring. Polamalu was a huge find and even though he was getting up there a bit he was still well more serviceable then the guys I mentioned. Yes Polamalu had made some wrong guesses but that has happened throughout and not just the year he was scapegoated. He was Troy Polamalu man. Think of what you are saying here. A player of his caliber doesnt always just come around and a player of his caliber isnt gonna just lose everything he has in a year . A man like Polamalu you let him finish out his contract and then let him retire you dont do him dirty especially for as much as he has done for the team.

  • Intense Camel

    Sorry, but he was not even serviceable.You’re caught up in what he used to be. He wasn’t even close to that guy. He couldn’t run, tackle or cover. Add that to the occasional wrong guess and you have a bad safety. You’re right about shamarko but Will Allen, as much as I hated him at the time, was a slight improvement. Mike Mitchell now is better than Troy was his last couple years.
    Had Troy had played more conventionally he would have been decent in his last years but he only knew how to play one way. When he could no longer do that, he was no longer himself. Those guys will never be as good as Troy used to be, but the simple fact that they played more conventional safety was a step up.

    He didn’t just fall off a cliff in one year, he had been declining since about 2011 and it was getting worse every year. I LOVED Troy but I was hoping that he would retire or even be released those last 2 years. That’s how bad it had gotten. It was so hard to watch him constantly whiffing on tackles, getting smoked in coverage and just seemingly unable to keep up with anybody. When they lost to Tebow, I knew then that his time had passed.

  • SteelerDieHard

    Typical Bouchette reporting … so laughable … “I’d guess yes” … how bout Ed actually go out and fact-find for an article, so we can come to actual conclusions from someone who did some research … maybe try to contact Troy and do a real story on it? I bet we’d all read that story/interview! He’s absolutely the laziest non-interested reporter I’ve ever seen. Now that they’re really reaching to keep a reader base and charging for their website, I REALLY don’t have to see his non-info/info anymore .. until it appears on REAL sites like Depot. Unbelievable … I know it’s a rant, but he’s driven me nuts for years .. and to see this headline, in typical Douche fashion with a “I’d guess” … just sent me into a rant .. sorry, I’m done.

    Oh yeah, one more thing that drives me nuts, if you really want to be annoyed by him as much as I am … watch the lazy turd standing in the background at the lockers post-game, or on media days … lazily holding out his microphone, not even looking at the player answering questions, and sure as hell not actually doing any of the asking … so pompous and lazy … he’s back there looking off in the distanced or toward the ceiling, not in the direction of the player .. ugh … give someone else that job, I’m sure there’s guys that would kill to be in that position… Ok, I’m really done this time.

  • walter

    I understand what you are saying but Timmons play was not degraded enough to be his last year in the nfl. He is still playing. If Troy was still good enough, why no interest from other teams?

  • walter

    Oh i didnt forget. But yes ok it was probably the same with Troy. His pride. Refusal to take a pay cut leaving the Steelers with no choice.

  • capehouse

    He had interest from the Titans. It’s hard to start over. Look at Timmons. He went a little crazy and wound up back at Steelers practice one day.

  • Steve Johnson

    And I feel the same way about you. Unfortunately some fans are completely ignorant and lack the ability to be objective. But who cares what I think.

  • Steve Johnson

    No doubt, one of mine as well. But, I think LeBeau depended on one player too much.

  • capehouse

    Good for you. Could care less about your objectivity too. You start off a response with ” glad ur not the GM” and you just sound like a douche. That’s how I’m gonna talk to you.