Troy Polamalu is one of the greatest safeties to ever grace an NFL field, earning his rightful place with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year -- on the first ballot, no less. Polamalu, one of the most humble players in the 100-year history of the NFL, didn't have to wait long to join the greatest players in football history.
The former All-Pro safety thought wasn't thinking about his own achievements in the months since his induction to the Hall of Fame, but the game-changers that he is joining in Canton.
"It's for sure a blessing. I think what's really made it different from my perspective is that I wasn't a big fan of the game growing up. So the players I actually did know about were more than football players," Polamalu told CBS Sports. "Jim Brown was one. They were the guys that not only broke down athletic barriers, but color barriers.
"When I think about being in the Hall of Fame with those people, I don't know what team I'm really on. When you talk about players in the 1960s and 1970s facing the racial persecution that they went through -- it's just a much different time now. To me, that's what I think about."
Polamalu has been busy since his Hall of Fame induction, teaming up with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes on a Head & Shoulders campaign to get Madden NFL 21 to rate his hair 100 as part of the "Take It Up To 100" battle.
While Polamalu is staying occupied by remaining on TV during NFL Sundays (albeit in a different way than he's used to), NFL fans (unfortunately) won't be seeing an enshrinement speech from the former Defensive Player of The Year, in 2020. The Hall Of Fame enshrinement ceremonies were postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will be worth the wait.
"I got no problem with it at all. In fact, I didn't even write a speech, neither did I have any content good enough for a speech" Polamalu said. "I'm happy to have another year and more time to try and prepare."
Polamalu redefined the safety position during his incredible 12-year career. The Pittsburgh Steelers legend was a four-time first-team All-Pro selection, eight-time Pro Bowler pick, a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and two-time Super Bowl champion -- the leader of a decade of Steelers dominance on defense. He finished with 12 sacks, 32 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries in his career, etching himself amongst the greatest Steelers players of all time.
All well and good for Polamalu, but not what he's about. This is why his Hall of Fame speech will be a difficult one, but a presentation that will be worthwhile when he finally gets to deliver it.
"I never thought about my legacy nor did I ever care about leaving one," Polamalu said. "Truly there's a lot of great players that have left inspiring legacies that were literally born in the hood that came from nothing and overcame a lot of things. I personally don't have that story a lot of great Hall of Famers have, so any of my legacy would be to read anyone else's legacies!"