Former American footballer, Troy Polamalu, is best known for his twelve-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. With a net worth of $30 million, fans were confused as to why Polamalu would suddenly leave a career he was so successful at.
After an injury, putting him on the bench for many games, Polamalu questioned whether he should return to the field at all. This decision was underhandedly made for him when the Steelers decided not to resign him due to his lengthy list of injuries over the years.
As an eight-time Pro Bowler, he didn’t want to play for any other teams. After playing for the University of Southern California in college, he had his sights set on the Steelers.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
When reports surfaced of Polamalu’s retirement, fans were confused and shocked. The story broke that he was leaving the NFL in order to spend more time with his family.
However, this didn’t sit well with fans, and so the digging began. Many searched for a reason behind this sudden change in direction.
The football star still had two seasons left on his contract at the time of his retirement. It was clear that Troy wanted to leave on his terms, and not on the terms of the league.
Many of his closest friends and family gave him advice during this time saying, “Troy, you played 12 years in the NFL, you won Super Bowls, won individual awards. You have a legacy.”.
According to Polamalu, his legacy was not even a factor for staying, and neither were superficial elements like awards and trophies. He told reporters, “First of all I don’t care about a legacy. Second of all I play the game because I enjoy it.”.
Coming to terms with the reason behind why he played the game in the first place, helped him come to terms with leaving it after so many years. Hurt by the way he was released from the Steelers, a team he had dedicated his entire pro career to, he knew it was time to leave.
When the Stars Align
On April 10th, 2015 Troy Polamalu officially announced his retirement from football and the NFL. Despite his plans to play in 2015, he took early retirement and distanced himself from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After feeling like he was forced out before he was ready, the Pro player decided to enjoy time with his family and take a break from his fellow teammates. In the Fall of 2015, he even declined an invitation to attend the team’s 10th anniversary of the Super Bowl XL championship team.
This made it clear to the team that he wasn’t happy with how events played out. With the anniversary happening only six months after he retired, it’s easy to say that Polamalu was still very much upset.
However, with his beautiful wife Theodora and their two children, Ephraim and Paisios, he has his hands full at home. If family was his main reason for leaving, he sure does have a lot to go home to.
Finding His Way Back
After his sudden retirement in 2015, Polamalu took some time to enjoy time off with his family and figure out his next steps. The former Steelers player decided to stick with what he knew, channeling it in a whole different way.
Troy Polamalu is now Head of Player Relations for the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
In an interview, he stated, “When people start businesses, or leagues, I guess maybe a football league, you’d think you could just copy and paste.
But it’s really starting from the very, very beginning. ‘In the beginning,’ was the word.
So, it’s really nice to be able to see this come to fruition, where there’s teams in eight different cities practicing today. It takes a lot of coordination, a lot of things that you never knew, especially as a football player.”.
This is not Polamalu’s only achievement since his retirement, he has also managed to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020. The former football superstar was elated at the nomination, and even more proud of officially making it on the ranks.
Troy Polamalu hasn’t let his early release from football stop him. With new ventures on the horizon and current ones coming to fruition, he is truly thriving.