PITTSBURGH (AP) — His flowing locks bouncing off the top of his No. 43 jersey, Troy Polamalu spent more than a decade flying across football fields as the heady but humble backbone of a defense that fueled the Pittsburgh Steelers' return to the NFL's elite.
Now, his singular career is a part of franchise lore. Move over Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount. You've got company.
Polamalu, an eight-time Pro Bowler and 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is retiring after 12 seasons, telling the only team he's ever played for that it's time for the next phase of his life. Polamalu's retirement was first reported by the Uniontown (Pa.) Herald-Standard.
"Troy is a shining example of a football man in the way he loved the game, the way he respected the game and the way he played the game," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. "It's a shining example of the window into who he is. He is a legendary Steeler and a legendary man."