The graduate: Polamalu intercepts history degree from USC

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu returned to USC on Friday to complete some unfinished business, earning his bachelor's degree in history from the university he left in 2003 to pursue his NFL dream.

The Associated Press' 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year joined more than 1,000 students on USC's Los Angeles campus to cap an academic journey that took an interesting turn when we was drafted by the Steelers following his senior season before earning his degree.

"I'm officially a USC graduate!" Polamalu wrote on his website.

As fellow college graduates take their first steps into the working world, Polamalu's already built a breathtaking career on the football field, but always planned to complete his education.

"The majority of top picks in the NFL get drafted before they complete their college education," Polamalu wrote. "I truly love football and it's such an immense blessing and privilege as an athlete to be given the rare opportunity to use those talents at the highest professional level, but it's certainly not a replacement for an education."

After missing 11 games in 2009, Polamalu was back to his old ways last season. He was vital to Pittsburgh's defense finishing No. 2 overall. In 14 games, Polamalu tied a career high with seven interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He also had a sack and forced one fumble.

Polamalu expects to be ready for training camp following offseason treatment and rehabilitation on his Achilles' tendon in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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