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Troy Polamalu back at natural position for Steelers

Perhaps no one will benefit more from rookie Ryan Shazier's play in the middle of the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense than Troy Polamalu.

The 33-year-old spent last season dropping down to fill in at linebacker because the group lacked anyone who could cover in space.

Shazier and Polamalu both played their first game of the preseason on Saturday, and the rookie showed exactly why the veteran shouldn't have to worry about filling that role in 2014.

Polamalu said he'd play anywhere asked, but getting back to his natural strong safety position should be a boon for him and the Steelers.

"It depends, you know, because my role has changed so much through the years," he said. "So, it really all depends on how coach LeBeau wants to use me. It's evolved, it's changed, it's kind of done everything."

Entering his 12th season, the veteran has proven over the course of his career that when he is allowed free reign to make plays, he can be a disruptive weapon. However, he didn't start his career with as big a bang as Shazier.

"To make that kind of impact in one game, in a preseason game, has to be a confidence booster," Polamalu said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I did not do anything like that my whole rookie year. I'm sure that is going to really give him a lot of confidence, and, hopefully, he can carry that into the next game and the season."

If the rookie can continue to play like he did in his first game it will free Polamalu to be the wild, free-ranging playmaker that has made him one of the best and most entertaining playmakers of the last decade.

The latest "Around the League Podcast" recaps all of the action from the second week of the preseason.

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