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Did Polamalu, Harrison play their last NFL game?

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The Steelers have always been buoyed by a veteran defense, but for the first time in a decade, they might have to consider life without one of their lynchpins.

Following Pittsburgh's 30-17 loss to the Ravens on Saturday night, 12-year veteran Troy Polamalu told reporters that it was fair to ask him whether the playoff defeat was his final NFL game.

"Yes, it is," Polamalu said, via ESPN.com. "Time will tell."

Polamalu defined the last decade of Steelers football, which included three trips to the Super Bowl and a pair of Lombardi Trophies. Even after missing the previous two games due to injury, the eight-time Pro Bowl safety led Pittsburgh in tackles Saturday.

Though he still has two years left on his contract, Polamalu saw a sharp decline in production this year. In addition, he did not record a sack or an interception.

"Honestly, we just lost a game," Polamalu said. "I don't think I'm prepared to even think about that or talk about that at this time."

Polamalu sounded similar to James Harrison, another longtime fixture on Pittsburgh's defense who was lifted out of retirement earlier this season.

Harrison will be 37 at the start of next season, and despite what sounds like an intent on trying to play, he too has realized that the end might be near.

"We'll see," Harrison said. "I'm not going to answer a question (about the future) right now because I'm not in the right mind frame."

Though Mike Tomlin had to see this coming, having Harrison power the Steelers to a division title and seeing Polamalu return for the playoffs had to be an emotional lift.

Without the two, the Steelers' past 10 years would look awfully different.

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