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Troy Polamalu (Troy Aumua Polamalu) was born on April 19, 1981 in Garden Grove, California. After going to high school at Douglas (OR), Polamalu attended the University of Southern California. Polamalu made his professional debut in the NFL in 2003 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for his entire 4 year career.
Most people believe that 2004 was Troy Polamalu's best year, as he picked off 5 passes and ran back an interception for a touchdown.
Troy attended Douglas High School in Winston, Oregon, where he was a three-sport letterman in baseball, basketball, and football. He played football for four years as a running back and defensive back. As a senior, he was an All-Far West selection in football, and an All-State center fielder in baseball; in basketball, he was a two-time all-league player.
After a standout career at the University of Southern California (where he was roommates with current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer), he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 16th pick of the first round in the 2003 NFL Draft. He also has the distinction of being the only safety ever drafted by the Steelers in the first round.
Polamalu (#43) is currently in his third season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is the first team starting strong safety. He is easily recognized when playing due to the large mane of curly hair flowing out of his helmet and past his shoulders. Polamalu is considered to be one of the more cerebral players in the NFL and is becoming the new face of the Steelers' vaunted "Steel Curtain" defense.
In the CBS Playoffs Pre-game Show, Polamalu said the last time he had gotten a haircut was when he was at USC in 2002 when a coach told him he needed one. Polamalu has not received a haircut since.
Polamalu's blend of speed, anticipation, and instinct makes him a standout player who seems to be involved in almost every defensive play. Troy is also regularly used to pressure the quarterback during blitzes. In only his 3rd season (2006), he tied the NFL record for most sacks, 3, in a single game by a safety.
Polamalu became part of the 2005 controversy over the quality of NFL officiating during the divisional playoff game between the Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts. Polamalu intercepted a pass, rolled to the ground, then fumbled the ball while getting up. The play was initially ruled an interception and fumble, but after viewing the instant replay, referee Pete Morelli ruled the play an incomplete pass. His rationale was that Polamalu did not make a "football move" after intercepting the pass but before fumbling the ball, and therefore did not demonstrate possession of the ball. The NFL later released a statement saying that Morelli's interpretation was incorrect, and that the interception should have been upheld.
Polamalu is also known for his devout faith, for which he resists labels, saying that it doesn't matter whether he is Protestant or Catholic, and that his faith is defined by his love of Jesus and his prayerful way of life. He seldom gives interviews, but when he does, he often speaks of the role his spirituality plays in his life. Polamalu has said that he tries to separate himself from his profession as much as possible, like not watching football games at home. He says a prayer after each play and also on the sidelines (as evidenced by him being seen down on one knee with his head bowed down).
In 2005, Pittsburgh area band Mr. Devious wrote and recorded the novelty song Puhlahmahlu, a parody of the song Mah Na Mah Na. Guitarist Glenn Shirey said that the song was inspired by a Fox Sports announcer's mispronunciation of Polamalu's name.
Polamalu tries to give as many autographs as possible, but even as a kid he never understood the value of someone's signature. He enjoys fly-fishing, wood-working and spending time with his wife and dogs.
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