Po­la­malu to quit af­ter 12 sea­sons

The for­mer de­fen­sive player of the year and USC star had been limited by in­juries in re­cent sea­sons.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - Staff and wire re­ports — Sam Farmer

Pitts­burgh Steel­ers safety Troy Po­la­malu , among the most revered play­ers in fran­chise his­tory, is re­tir­ing. He an­nounced the de­ci­sion Thurs­day in an in­ter­view with the Her­ald-Stan­dard of Union­town, Pa.

Po­la­malu, 33, a stand­out at USC, was se­lected in the first round of the 2003 draft, mark­ing the first time the Steel­ers took a safety in the open­ing round. He played 12 sea­sons, made eight Pro Bowls, and four times was se­lected a first-team All-Pro. The Steel­ers moved him all around the de­fense, and he helped re­de­fine the po­si­tion.

The Steel­ers have wanted to get younger on de­fense, had talked to him about re­tir­ing, and re­port­edly were con­sid­er­ing re­leas­ing him. Po­la­malu told the Her­ald-Stan­dard that for most of his ca­reer, he would have gone to great lengths to keep play­ing.

Po­la­malu’s un­cle, Kennedy Po­la­malu , who coaches run­ning backs at UCLA, said he has had sev­eral phone con­ver­sa­tions with his nephew in re­cent weeks about the de­ci­sion.

“It was an emo­tional thing,” the el­der Po­la­malu told The Times. “We never planned for the way he played the game with such love and spirit, and that it would go 12 years. He wasn’t a highly re­cruited kid, so we went back through his jour­ney and rem­i­nisced about how when he got into col­lege no one knew who he was.”

Steel­ers run­ning back Le’Veon Bell is fac­ing a three-game sus­pen­sion fol­low­ing his ar­rest on drunk-driv­ing and mar­i­juana charges last Au­gust. A per­son with di­rect knowl­edge of the sus­pen­sion told the As­so­ci­ated Press that Bell is ex­pected to ap­peal the sus­pen­sion. . . . The In­di­anapo­lis Colts will use the team’s fifth-year op­tion to keep quar­ter­back An­drew Luck through at least 2016.

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