If the 33-year-old Polamalu does not retire it is expected that the Steelers will cut him.
Polamalu has been selected to eight Pro Bowls during his 12-year career.
"That is the elephant in the room,” Bouchette told 93.7 The Fan. “I expect him not to be here by some means. The Steelers are hoping he would retire, but I don’t know if he is going to.”
Polamalu has two years left on his contract and carries an $8.25 million cap hit this season. He's spent his entire 12-year career in Pittsburgh, making eight Pro Bowls.
“Honestly, we just lost a game,” said Polamalu, who turns 34 in April and missed four of the final seven regular-season games with injuries. “I don't think I'm prepared to even think about that or talk about that at this time.”
Polamalu led Pittsburgh with eight tackles in the 30-17 playoff loss to the Ravens on Saturday night, but he did not deliver any game-changing plays. He has two years left on his contract.
While he admitted his future is up in the air, Polamalu sounded intrigued about returning in 2015 and playing with a team that got younger and better this year.
“There is a lot of young talent all over the field,” he said. "This team really grew throughout the season, not just in the secondary."
"I needed to see him prepare. Sometimes a guy is able to play at the 11th hour and they don’t get the in-helmet preparation over the course of the work week," Tomlin said. "When you get to January football and the stakes are high, detail is going to define you. Not only him but us, and you need that in-helmet preparation to do it. He was able to practice this week, and so that made the decision easier. Had he not been able to practice this week, that’s an element of the discussion that makes it more complex. That’s what I was referring to earlier in the week."
The following players for the
Polamalu has missed the previous two games and four of the last seven due to numerous injuries. His teammates scoffed at the idea that the Steelers are better off without the services of Polamalu, after he was a surprise inactive in Week 17. However,
Pittsburgh is a 3-point home favorite against Baltimore.
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