PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are celebrating their 2022 Hall of Honor Class this weekend and during their game against the New Orleans Saints, but one of the visitors decided to honor a player already enshrined at Acrisure Stadium.
Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu took to the field on Sunday wearing a t-shirt featuring former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.
The Honey Badger is showing love for Troy Polamalu! pic.twitter.com/nv7vxcsItk
— Ian Smith (@ismithKDKA) November 13, 2022
There are only four safeties to win a Super Bowl and three first-team All-Pro selections this decade: Ed Reed, Earl Thomas, Mathieu and Polamalu, and there appears to be some mutual appreciation from the exclusive club.
Mathieu has previously expressed his appreciation for Polamalu, so the love isn’t a new thing.
“Guys like Troy Polamalu, these are guys who didn’t see much action in the regular season, but when it came postseason time, they made their plays,” Mathieu said to Bleacher Report in 2019. “That’s ultimately how their got their names.”
Polamalu was inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 2020, his first year of eligibility. This week, the Steelers will honor broadcaster Myron Cope, guard Sam Davis, wide receiver Louis Lipps and tight end Heath Miller.
The appreciation between Mathieu and the Steelers appears to be a two-way street. Several players spoke about Mathieu this week and their excitement about facing off against one of the top safeties of the last decade.
“I used to watch his tape before high school games,” Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett said. “The defensive side, just the swag he plays with. He plays with an edge, and I liked watching that in high school when I used to play some corner and safety. So, definitely coming full circle now facing off against him on Sunday.”
Expect that appreciation to be put on hold, however, once the ball gets kicked off just after 1 p.m.