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Tomlin: Troy Polamalu is a 'legendary Steeler and man'

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The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Friday morning what the world found out late Thursday night: safety Troy Polamalu is retiring from the NFL.

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"Since we drafted him in 2003, Troy Polamalu has been an outstanding player and person," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "On behalf of the entire Steelers organization and the Steelers Nation, I am happy to be able to publicly celebrate and thank Troy for his many contributions to the Steelers. His unique style of play will be remembered among the all-time Steelers. His passion for the game of football on the field and his willingness to be a contributor to the community make him a very special person."

In an interview with NFL Network, Rooney expounded on the type of character Polamalu brought to the Steelers.

"He's a unique player," Rooney said. "His personality on the field was about as opposite as it could be off the field. He was a very quiet, humble person. Sometimes you had a hard time hearing him speak. He didn't want to call attention to himself off the field -- just a humble person and really the kind of person that was a great example to the rest of the team at all times."

In 12 seasons with the Steelers, Polamalu finished as an eight-time Pro Bowler, was named first-team AP All-Pro four times and second team twice, and he was the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year. Polamalu was also named to the 2000's NFL All-Decade Team and to the Steelers' 75th Anniversary Team.

For all Polamalu's on-field prowess and accolades, reading what management had to say about the safety, it's obvious his influence on the organization went far beyond the field.

"Troy is a shining example of a football man in the way he loved the game, the way he respected the game and the way he played the game," coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's a shining example of the window into who he is. He is a legendary Steeler and a legendary man. I congratulate him and wish him nothing but the best moving forward."

"He is a good, family man, which meant a lot to him," chairman Dan Rooney added. "I think that's part of what he is going to do (moving forward). But he's been a tremendous leader, really a leader by example, not only as a great football player but as a great person. He has influenced many people both on and off the field, which was really an important part. We've been fortunate to have great players throughout the years, but he of course would be one of the top players. He did everything with dignity and responsibility, and it was special to have Troy be a Steeler his entire career."

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