Shamarko Thomas hoping to fill in well for Polamalu

The Steelers are losing a safety that re-defined the position in the NFL. In other words, not an easy person to replace.

But Shamarko Thomas spent as much time as he could learning from Troy Polamalu.

"I definitely am closer to him than I am to anybody," Thomas said, via The Associated Press. "My second year, I went to him in the offseason and said that I want to be great, and he just told me that being great isn't just about being a great football player. It's putting God first and your family, and everything else will fall into place."

The notion of replacing a player in the NFL is often ridiculous. No one is replacing Polamalu because there probably won't be another Polamalu. Like Ronnie Lott or Night Train Lane, he was a once-in-a-generation player.

That's why Thomas just needs to work on being the best version of himself. The rangy safety struggled with injuries a year ago and played mostly on special teams. Pittsburgh is hoping that this year, it's something more.

Pittsburgh finished 27th against the pass last year and if they want to continue to stay relevant in the AFC North, they'll need that number to come down.

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