Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Polamalu Has Kept His Distance after Forced Steelers Retirement

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Polamalu Has Kept His Distance after Forced Steelers Retirement

Article excerpt

Troy Polamalu's avoidance of most things Steelers might ease tonight, along with perhaps some hurt feelings that spawned it, when he is expected to attend the 80th Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction that will honor former teammate Antonio Brown as Sportsman of the Year.

After playing 12 years for the Steelers, Mr. Polamalu has stayed away from team functions since his "forced" retirement from the team last year. The safety made eight Pro Bowls with the Steelers and earned NFL defensive player of the year honors in 2010.

He was among the best and most popular players in franchise history, voted to its 75th anniversary team, and is a strong candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he becomes eligible in four years. Yet Mr. Polamalu even skipped the team's Super Bowl XL 10-year anniversary gathering last fall.

He has not come around the team's South Side facility, and if he attended any Steelers games last fall, it was not evident. He did attend a Pirates game in May during which the baseball team paid tribute to him as he and some teammates, along with Franco Harris, watched from a private box. Mr. Polamalu also has been seen at Penguins games since his retirement.

Mr. Polamalu and his wife, Theodora, also are often spotted at social events around the city. For example in December, the Troy & Theodora Polamalu Foundation Fund and the Harry Panos Fund for Veterans were involved in bringing a dream wedding to life for Hannah and Matthew Brown, an Army veteran, part of a Warrior Wedding Giveaway, at Downtown's Hotel Monaco.

But Mr. Polamalu has pretty much kept his distance from the Steelers, even though he lives in the North Hills and his two sons attend school here. Mr. Polamalu announced his retirement in April in a phone call to sportswriter Jim Wexell.

"I don't think that there's any bad feelings on his part," Marvin Demoff, his longtime agent, told the Post-Gazette. "I really don't. I think that in his own way he just had to step away from football - ESPN, the NFL Network, anything involved in football."

The Dapper Dan is the charity wing of the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette. …

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