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Troy Polamalu Thinks Steelers Offseason Moves Are ‘Unprecedented’



Steelers Troy Polamalu

Former Pittsburgh Steelers free safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark said on First Take Wednesday that the Steelers are operating in the most unlike Steeler way he’s ever seen. It’s a pleasant surprise for Clark who wanted to see the Steelers make bold moves and not play it so close to the vest.

Clark’s former teammate and fellow safety partner, Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu is also liking the changes in philosophy from the organization. He thinks the moves are unprecedented.

“It is wild. It’s unprecedented, I could say,” Polamalu said on the Big K Morning Show Thursday. “We could say that. It’s not like anything our program, our organization has seen. But I think it’s exciting, too. There has been a lot of change with Kevin Colbert (retiring as general manager in 2022), we have the scouting department changing. Those kinds of things have shake-up (the) culture.”

Steelers general manager Omar Khan has conducted only one draft and it was widely considered one of the best in the league. Offensive tackle Broderick Jones, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and nose tackle Keeanu Benton were all starters in their rookie seasons. Nick Herbig also showed promise as the No. 3 outside linebacker. The organization is also embracing analytics more under Khan compared to Colbert, who had an old-school scout background.

There also has been a changing of the guard in the scouting department, too, as Polamalu mentioned. In addition to Mike Butler’s retirement, they have also recently parted ways with pro scout Dave Petett and longtime college scout Mark Gorscak has also retired from the club.

Some of the newer scouts include Zack Crockett, Jarrod Highberger, Ike Taylor, Jim Ward and Christopher Watts.

At the NFL owner’s meetings on Sunday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he never envisioned landing both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields this offseason, and gave credit to Khan for making the complicated series of transactions work well for the Steelers.

“Through conversation and work — and can’t give Omar enough credit — we were able to acquire both guys,” Tomlin said.

Polamalu is looking forward to seeing Wilson and Fields in the Black and Gold. Especially Fields who he once met.

“I’m really excited for Justin and Russell. I actually met Justin Fields one time,” Polamalu said. “And to be honest, I didn’t know it was him. I was just like, ‘It’s a football player, I want to say hi to him.’ But here’s what’s funny about it. When I left, I was like, ‘I met that linebacker over there.’ I pointed and (the person next to me) was like, ‘No, no, that’s Justin Fields, the quarterback for the Bears.’ He’s huge. These guys are different these days.”

Fields took a small step forward in 2023, his third year as Chicago’s starting quarterback. The Ohio State alum threw 370 times, completing 227 for 2,562 yards and 16 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions and maintained an 86.3 passer rating and a 5.29 adjusted net yards per attempt.

In 2022, he was 192 of 318 for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, an 85.2 quarterback rating and 4.63 adjusted net yards per attempt.

Since 2022, Fields has the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,800 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Both figures are higher than Lamar Jackson’s.

Polamalu is excited to see what the Steelers can do in 2024. It’s certainly a pivotal season for the franchise, who’ll be looking to snap a seven-year drought of no playoff wins.

“It’s going to be awesome for Steelers Nation this year,” he said.