Troy Polamalu was slated to become the latest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer. Polamalu, one of the greatest strong safeties in NFL history, will have to wait another year to receive induction into Canton, Ohio, however, after the Hall of Fame decided to postseason this year's festivities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Polamalu, via social media, offered his thoughts on the Hall of Fame's decision to postpone this year's festivities.
"What's another year compared to eternity in bronze? In all seriousness, I am grateful and blessed for this honor, and look forward to the celebration alongside my brothers. #HeadedToTheHall - see you in 2021."
Polamalu joined several other members of this year's induction class that have publicly offered their support of the Hall of Fame's decision. Bill Cowher, Polamalu's coach in Pittsburgh from 2003-06, and fellow former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson also supported the Hall of Fame's decision on their respective social media accounts late last week.
Edgerrin James, the only running back that is part of this year's induction class, has also supported the Hall of Fame's decision. James is hoping that he will be joined in Canton next summer with former teammates Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Manning, the only starting quarterback who has led two different franchises to Super Bowl victories, is considered a shoo-in to inducted during his first year of eligibility. Wayne, who is second to Marvin Harrison in just about every category as it relates to the Colts' all-time receiving record book, was a finalist for the Hall of Fame last season, his first year of eligibility.
Hall of Fame president David Baker recently said that the Hall initially thought about doing something virtually for this year's class before ultimately deciding to postpone the ceremony altogether.
"A lot of the joy of the enshrinement is making that enshrinement with your family and your friends and your teammates that helped you get here," Baker said during an appearance on NFL Network. "So we felt thought that it was important to have all those things."
Baker said that next year's induction class will include separate ceremonies for the centennial class and next year's induction class.
"We're going to extend the weekend," Baker said of next year's festivities. "And we'll make everything a little bigger, a little bit longer, but it will be compressed into five or six days that we think will be one of the greatest gatherings in football, ever."
The Hall of Fame's centennial class includes Cowher, Johnson, five modern-day inductees, 10 senior players and three contributors. The modern-day inductees include Polamalu, James, safety Steve Atwater, receiver Isaac Bruce, and guard Steve Hutchinson. The senior inductees include receiver Harold Carmichael and end Mac Speedie; offensive linemen Jim Covert, Winston Hill and Duke Slater; safeties Cliff Harris, Bobby Dillon and Donnie Shell; and defensive linemen Alex Karras and Ed Sprinkle. The three contributions are Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue and George Young.
Despite the Hall of Fame's recent postponements, NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash last Thursday that teams are still planning on opening their respective training camps late next month. Pash also alluded to the possibility of a shortened preseason due to the ongoing pandemic.