“It’s all about family,” said Polamalu. “I live here in Pittsburgh now, and since the end of the season I’ve had a chance to enjoy my family on a level I never had before. It was awesome.”
According to Polamalu, he didn’t even consider the idea playing for another NFL team.
“I did not seriously consider playing elsewhere,” Polamalu said. “It was just whether or not I wanted to play. I had talked to a lot of people about what I should do with my situation, and what they kept saying back to me, and which was not a sufficient reason, was ‘Troy, you played 12 years in the NFL, you won Super Bowls, won individual awards. There’s nothing left to prove. You have a legacy.’ And I just kept saying, ‘First of all, I don’t care about a legacy. Second of all, I play the game because I enjoy it.’ That’s the reason to keep playing.
“Like I said, what it came down to was definitely family. If I’m in my fourth year, fifth year, even if I’m in my 10th year, I’m playing in Alaska. But when I started this process and started to debate whether I should come back or should I play, that was kind of the sign for me to say ‘Whoa, if you’re just even debating it maybe you shouldn’t play anymore,’ because what I do know about this game is it takes a lot, a lot, of commitment just to be an average player.”
Polamalu, 33, has another two years remaining on his three-year, $20 million contract that included $7 million guaranteed. He would have made base salaries of $6 million and $5.75 million over the final two years of the agreement.
During his 12-year NFL career, Polamalu recorded 581 tackles, 32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles, seven recoveries, 12 sacks, and scored five defensive touchdowns. He is also an eight-time Pro Bowler and a four-time First-Team All-Pro selection.