One-on-one: Polamalu finally explains estrangement from Steelers, retirement

Bill Cowher, Troy Polamalu talk about Hall of Fame careers

MIAMI — Since abruptly announcing his retirement following the Steelers' 2014 season, Troy Polamalu hasn't made himself a regular at team events.

In fact, he hasn’t been around at all.

Polamalu, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in his first year of eligibility, said that has been by design, not out of any spite he feels about how his career ended.

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“One thing that I always felt the need to do because this game has a tendency to take players and players truly become dependent on the NFL, one of the things that was important to me was that I didn’t want to identify myself as a football player,” Polamalu told me Saturday night. "If I lost the game that I would lose my identity. Part of that was just letting go and moving on to the next phase of life. So, as soon as I was done with football, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go and get educated.' But I knew I was going to have issues that I hear about with the transition. I got in a tech company, a startup football league, because it was all a good education.

“It was part of just a growing period for me, a maturity process for me that I really just had to draw a line. What I didn’t want to do was to always have to come back, and be like, ‘OK, I feel like myself again. Finally, I’m at home again.’ So, yeah. That was it.”

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