The Pittsburgh Steelers have spent the past two off-seasons systematically pruning their roster of aging and oft-injured veterans. One player who fits both criteria is Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu. Unlike many of his longtime teammates, Troy is back this season for his 11th go-round in the Black and Gold. Whether or not it’s his last remains to be seen.
If Troy does manage to look like the Troy of old while playing all 16 games for the first time since 2011, we can safely say he did it the old-fashioned way. A late career resurgence would be a combination of hard work and sheer luck. What it wouldn’t be is a product of pharmaceutical experimentation. Troy Polamalu refuses to cheat by using HGH.
In the wake of baseball’s Ryan Braun being exposed as the lying cheating asshole Pirate fans always knew him to be, the sports world has once again taken up a rallying cry against the use of PEDs, specifically HGH. Don’t kid yourselves, PED usage is as widespread in the NFL as it is in baseball or any other sport. The only difference being in football, things like HGH are primarily used to speed up healing from the injuries sustained during the long and brutal NFL season. While I’m not going to argue that healing quicker from injury isn’t technically “performance enhancing,” I think most sports fans realize the difference between football players using something to recover from the horrific abuse their bodies endure and baseball players sticking needles in their ass so they can hit an extra 10-15 home runs or continue playing until they’re 45.
Granted I’m probably biased but I would love to see Troy Polamalu still flying around the field like the heat seeking missile he was back when he was 25. But Troy is an honorable man. And being an honorable man, he’ll continue to put his 32 year old body through the aches and pains that come with being an old man in a young man’s game. And when the day comes for the bust makers over in Canton to figure out a way to cast his flowing Samoan mane in bronze, we may not remember much from his injury-riddled final few seasons. But we will know he played those seasons the same way he played his entire career.
With class and integrity.