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Troy Polamalu Says Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Mindset is on Another Level

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Troy Polamalu

Former Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu said during his Hall of Fame speech, “The only approval any Steeler should seek is to earn the approval of previous legends who have donned the Black and Gold. And if you have truly earned their respect, they’ll say, ‘You could have played with us.’”

Minkah Fitzpatrick has earned that respect from Polamalu. In fact, he said on Cam Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast the he would’ve loved to play with Fitzpatrick. Just imagine that safety safety duo.

“It’s somebody like I said that I would’ve loved to play with. But honestly he falls in line with all the great safeties that played with our organization. He’s the 2K version in the sense of you know his mindset is on another level, and I really appreciate that about him,” Polamalu said.

Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick at training camp, Aug. 5, 2023 — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

As far as football intellect, Polamalu said he sees a lot of Deshea Townsend and William Gay in Fitzpatrick. Townsend and Gay are both coaches in the NFL now. Townsend  is a defensive passing game coordinator and defensive back coach with the Detroit Lions, while Gay is an assistant defensive backs coach with the Washington Commanders.

“If I think about the teammates that he reminds me of, all of them were geniuses. Think about Deshea Townsend, who taught me so much about the game, knew about every position, taught me about the ins and outs of all the positions,” Polamalu said. “Will Gay is somebody who’s very similar like that. But then you have someone like him who is truly special at that next level that thinks the game like that. The game was much more simple when I played, so the fact he’s still outsmarting and doing a lot of really amazing that people that really appreciate the skill set of what safeties bring, I truly admire that about him.”

RELATED: Troy Polamalu on Returning to Pittsburgh for Charity Events, Connecting with New Steelers

Since joining the Steelers in September of 2019 after being dealt by Miami, Fitzpatrick has showcased that he’s one of the best safeties in the game, earning three first-team All-Pro selections and four Pro Bowls. In 2022, Fitzpatrick was the co-leader in interceptions with six. Overall, he’s racked up 17 interceptions in his five seasons with the Steelers, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

Like Polamalu, Fitzpatrick does a lot of work in the the Pittsburgh community. Fizpatrick won the 2023 Bart Starr Award. The award is given annually to the NFL player who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.”

Fitzpatrick was recognized for his work in the Pittsburgh community, including his efforts to tackle child abuse and raise resources and awareness for families in need, children in foster care and other worthy causes.