Q&A: Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu is coming off one of his best games yet. The Steelers' Pro Bowl strong safety made two plays -- one to prevent a first down and one that came within inches of a safety -- that will be remembered long after he retires. He talked with a group of reporters Friday at the Steelers' practice facility.

Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: How well do you know Seattle's middle linebacker, Lofa Tatupu?

A: We never had a chance to play together. When he came to USC he had a redshirt.

Q: Could you sense how good he'd be then?

A: There are a lot of great players that don't get an opportunity to play in the NFL. I remember me going into SC and somebody got kicked off the team because of drug issues. He was a great athlete.

Q: Those issues are the player's fault. How many great players without those issues fall through the cracks?

A: I think a lot more than people believe.

Q: Have you heard the Puhlahmahlu song?

A: I've heard it. I think it's pretty good. From what I believe, I think Whitney Houston was originally supposed to sing it, but I guess Sesame Street outbid her.

Q: Are you making that up?

A: Yes.

Q: In the last game, you made two of the more athletic plays I've seen you make. Would you agree?

A: I don't know. I haven't really watched the game, to tell you the truth. I've moved above and beyond that.

Q: You ought to see it. This one guy, No. 43, he's quite good.

A: I feel it all over my body right now. Trust me.

Q: Is that pure instinct?

A: Not really. In some sense, yeah, but the defense allows me to just go out and be able to take shots and make plays like that, knowing I can trust the 10 other guys to have my back if I make a mistake.

Q: Dick LeBeau was talking about all the different blitzes he has. Do you look forward to his game plans each week?

A: Yes. Actually it's very fun, very entertaining on our Wednesdays, our first meeting with him, just some of the things he does to free people up and get mismatches that he has. It's pretty amazing the way he works.

Q: Is there anything he hasn't used yet that you've been waiting for him to use?

A: We have certain blitzes that we carry all the way through. Everybody knows them. There are a bunch of different blitzes that we have that we never run and could run. I don't know.

Q: Do you try to anticipate or think ahead of him?

A: No because he has two or three days of preparation before I even watch a film.

Q: What has your growing popularity been like for you?

A: It's a blessing in a way, but you know people come and go. Obviously you guys are going to be with what's hot, but a game from now, a week from now, I could be a distant memory. In some sense it doesn't bother me at all whether you guys are here with me or not because I know I'm not defined by prestige.

Q: What does define you?

A: Me. Just me.

Q: What do you take pride in?

A: I take pride in my life – my wife, my family. I try my best not to let football define who I am.

Q: Does your wife watch more football than you do?

A: She doesn't watch any football. She doesn't know anything about football, which is a good thing.

Q: Why is that a good thing?

A: I don't want to come home and hear ‘Hey babe, you got smoked today. What did you think of that cover two? Why did you let the quarterback look you off like that?' I'd be like, hey, come on, babe (changes voice) get in the kitchen and cook for me (laughs). No.

Q: How do you get away from the game?

A: It's become easy for me to walk out of the facility and just separate myself from the game. And then I have a lot more peace of mind, and I think that when I come here I'm a lot more energized and really able to focus on football.

Q: Are you the type of guy who has a trophy room or a football shrine in his house?

A: I do have a trophy room. It's in my attic in boxes.

Q: Do you have trouble dealing with your newfound fame when you're out in public?

A: It's not really a problem. It's a blessing in a way as well, just to have this stage to hopefully be a positive influence on people. That was actually a goal I've always had and I prayed ever since I was little to be able to help people and to be a role model to people. So this role, this prestige, has provided me with that and it's a blessing in that way.

Q: Does it ever overwhelm you?

A: It does become overwhelming. Like I said, I can separate myself from football but it's hard for football to separate from me when I go home and I've got people coming over to my house for autographs and things like that. It's very hard for me to say no. I've never been an autograph person as a kid, never sought anybody's autograph or really got too much celebrity shock from anybody anyway because I never found value in that, so it's really different for me to be on the other end of it and to have people value signatures.

Q: Do you turn them down?

A: No, I never do.

Q: There's so much excitement around town. How will it help for you guys to get out?

A: I don't know. Pittsburgh, it's nice to be around here. Very seldom is everybody very happy like this, if ever happy like this. But it's been a very special winter for us as well. We've had good weather. We've been winning. It's very nice to be around here.

Q: Would it help the focus to change locations?

A: Not really. We've been here for almost 30 weeks, so it's an everyday thing for us to be around Pittsburgh.

Q: What strikes you about the Seattle offense?

A: They're solid all over. Their strength is obviously their offensive line, which is really cool for us because our strength is our defensive line and our front seven. It's going to be a battle. As long as we can hold up on our end, and keep the battle on the front, we believe they'll be playing into our hands.

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