Super Bowl

Troy Polamalu Steelers Super Bowl Xlviii Nfl Lockout Joe Mauer Roethlisberger Wedding Ward Dwts

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We’re not in season for the National Football League which means player interviews are typically going to cover a wide range of topics. Obviously the ongoing NFL Lockout is what’s at the forefront of everybody’s mind, but there’s only so much guys know and/or are willing to talk about.  That leaves plenty of time to hit on other topics. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear one of my favorite players, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, talk so candidly to Dan Patrick about a wide variety of subjects. Polamalu is always soft-spoken and measured with his responses. And he is here too. I just found him to be more engaging and interesting than usual. Good stuff. Polamalu joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about being down at Minnesota Twins spring training to meet with Joe Mauer, how he’s not taken any batting practice so as not to risk injuring himself further, if his Achilles injury was worse than he perhaps led on going into the Super Bowl, the new rule changes in the NFL, how not including players in major decisions like that is extremely frustrating to him, how he’s replayed the Super Bowl loss to the Packers thousands of times in his mind, how he has a greater appreciation for how hard it is to get to the SB after the challenging 2010 season, who he thinks will be the worst dancer at Ben Roethlisberger’s wedding, and Hines Ward’s debut on Dancing With the Stars.

Where is he exactly at the moment:

“I’m down here at the Minnesota Twins spring training.”

Is he taking batting practice:

“No, I haven’t really fully healed yet from my Achilles heel injury, so I don’t know if it would be a good idea to make it even worse by doing BP out there today.”

How he thinks his hair would look underneath a baseball cap or helmet:

“I don’t know. Manny Ramirez looks pretty good under a batting helmet, and Tim Lincecum puts it under a hat pretty well. So there’s a few iconic baseball players out there, as well as Joe Mauer who I’m here to see today, with some iconic hair.”

Whether he has any baseball playing ability:

“No, I don’t have any. I played all the way through high school, and I had a very short stint at USC while I was there playing football and obviously it didn’t last long.”

If there’s a baseball player right now who he feels could play at a high level in the NFL:

“Well there’s quite a few players who were great two-sport athletes. Joe was a Gatorade Player of the Year in baseball as well as football. So I think someone like him could have been just as successful as a quarterback in the NFL.”

If he’s officially unemployed at the moment:

“Yeah, I’m looking for work. It sucks I wasn’t able to take batting practice today. Hopefully I can luck out and hit one out of the ballpark and get a one-day contract. But I don’t know, I’m looking for work.”

If he thinks the NFL is more interested in making the game safe or more safe based on the recent rule changes that were voted on:

“I think it’s a bit of both. I think the nature of the game is that it’s a very violent game. So you can only do so much without really messing with the true essence of the game. But the rule changes, that we weren’t able to have any say in it kind of signifies how much power that the NFL has without really talking to any of the players or the former players union about these things.”

On just how disappointing it is that the players’ input isn’t sought out on matters like rule changes:

“It’s very frustrating. They even moved the Pro Bowl without talking to the players union at the time about it. I don’t know, you can’t have the game without the players, that’s for one. They should understand that. We do take all the licks so I think we should have a majority of the say of what goes on in the game.”

What the players want in the most simplest of explanations:

“A fair contract. They’re the ones — the owners were the ones that opted out of the contract, out of the CBA. Also what we’ve asked them to do is open up their books. They said they were losing money but then they wouldn’t open up their books and showing us how much, or if they were even losing money. In any business agreement, both sides show how much their profits and losses are, and then you can come to a mutual agreement. That’s in any business. But the NFL is obviously in a whole different group of people and things are a little backwards in the NFL and the way they’re ran. And they weren’t willing to open up their books and show us. So that as well as a lot of other things.”

If he’s watched the replay of the Super Bowl:

“I’ve watched it in my mind thousands of times.”

What grade would he give himself for his performance in the loss:

“A losing grade. I think in sports, when you’re at that level — at the professional level — and you consider yourself a team-player, you’re either a winner or a loser when you come out of a game. There’s no either A, B, C, or Do grade. It’s either pass or fail. Especially a game of that magnitude. It doesn’t really matter how well you play; it’s just a matter of if you helped your team win or helped your team lose.”

If he was injured heading into the Super Bowl:

“No I felt as good as I’ve ever felt going into the game since the original injury that I sustained mid-way through the season. No, I felt very good during the Super Bowl. I didn’t feel very good afterwords.”

On who will be the worst dancer at Ben Roethlisberger’s upcoming wedding:

“Hines, probably. See, what Hines has provided for the whole Steelers team is confidence. Confidence like ‘you know what? Maybe I should have done it too.’ No, you know, probably myself to be honest with you. Man, Hines he did a great job with Dancing With the Stars. And I think it’s awesome watching him.”

If he’d agree to go on the show if he was asked:

“No, I wouldn’t. I don’t know. It’s just not really my cup of tea.”

Whether he’d agree to go on the show rather than endure losing in another Super Bowl:

“Absolutely. I don’t think there’s anything in sports…no, to be honest, probably my whole career I kind of went into the games like ‘whatever the outcome is, I’ll be happy with it as long as I gave great effort’. Even in the two previous Super Bowls that we played in. But after this Super Bowl, it gave so much more appreciation for how long of a season it is, how much effort it requires to get to that point. And obviously this last season for us, we had to face a lot of things outside of football, outside of the lines, that other teams didn’t have to deal with. Obviously the situation regarding Ben missing the first four games. The injuries that we faced — we started off the year with our fourth string quarterback. And then the fines and the hits. You know, we had a lot of adversity that we had to face outside of football. And it was a great job by Coach Tomlin and his supporting staff to even get us to the Super Bowl. Especially with the adversity that we faced outside.”

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