Troy Polamalu became the highest-paid Steeler and the top-earning safety in the league yesterday, signing a five-year extension on the first day of Steelers training camp. The mild-mannered Samoan-American's ability to line up at multiple positions, knack for reading defenses, and wacky free-wheeling mentality have made him the lynchpin of the defense that won Super Bowl XL.
The contract is worth $33 million; QB Ben Roethlisberger, by comparison, has a six-year, $22-million deal. Since becoming a starter in 2004, Polamalu has not missed a Pro Bowl and has become a fan favorite. "It means that I have to work harder and go out and earn it, that's what it means to me,'' offered Polamalu.