Troy Polamalu recently visited a stadium that has hosted several championship teams in it’s day. No, we’re not talking about Heinz Field, the field that Polamalu used to roam during his decorated career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’re instead talking about Legion Field, the former home stadium of the Alabama Crimson Tide under legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Polamalu took a photo next to Bryant’s memorable plaque upon arriving at Legion Field.
Polamalu was at Legion Field as a member of the new pro football league, the Alliance of American Football. As the league’s Head of Player Relations, Polamalu will look to help the league’s players thrive in both their professional and personal lives while making an impact in their families as well as in their communities.
“Nutrition, health, training is at the center of every professional athlete’s life, let alone most human beings,” Polamalu said earlier this year. “But for a professional football player and an NFL football player, you spend 349 days of the year preparing for 16 game days … only 16 game days. Those 349 days, you deal with disappointments, you deal with injuries, you set short term goals, you deal with financial issues, family issues. Balancing those 349 days, to me, are what make you a professional athlete, because that is what forges your character, those 349 days. The fans don’t really see that. The fans see the 16 days.
“Well, I’m excited to impart my experience to help our players maximize their potential not only as football players, but as human beings, as positive influences in their communities and in their families. For me, what makes that even more special, as a former NFL player, is that I thought I had an impact on the game, but it was only in the locker room, it was only on the field between the lines. What excites me most about this opportunity… is we have players that can actually have an real influence on the game that we all fell in love with as children, as the game evolves. That is the most exciting thing for me and the alliance.”
The league is the brainchild of Hall of Famer and longtime NFL executive Bill Polian and the television and movie producer Charlie Ebersol.
“This is not a development league,” Ebersol recently told the New York Times. “There are tens of thousands of players who don’t have a job, which translates into hundreds of Kurt Warner’s.”
Unlike the NFL, the AAF won’t include extra points, as teams must go for two after touchdowns. The league will look to keep game to two and a half hours by minimizing commercial breaks while shortening the play clock from 45 to 30 seconds.
Polamalu has been relatively quiet following a 12-year career that included eight Pro Bowls, four All-Pro selections, three AFC titles, two Super Bowl titles and the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. But after several years of retirement, Polmalu is headed back to work with the hopes of being a part of something special with the AAF.