Steelers great Troy Polamalu earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with another hard-hitting safety, Steve Atwater of Denver. Also voted in Saturday were receiver Isaac Bruce, running back Edgerrin James and guard Steve Hutchinson.
Polamalu said he went six or seven years, maybe longer, without cutting his hair during the prime of a career that lasted from 2003-14.
Selected in his first year of eligibility, Polamalu was a four-time All-Pro, was voted to eight Pro Bowls and finished with two Super Bowl rings in three trips. His rambling, cross-the-field fourth-quarter pick-six against Joe Flacco in the 2008 AFC title game cemented the win and was a highlight of what might have been his best season; he had seven interceptions that year and the Steelers won the Super Bowl.
Polamalu will go in the same year as Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher and defensive back Donnie Shell, each of whom were voted in as part of the hall’s special centennial class designed to celebrate the NFL”s 100th year.
John Lynch, in Miami this week for the Super Bowl as GM of the 49ers, was also among the 15 finalists whose resumes were debated and discussed throughout the day by the panel of four dozen voters. But he did not make the cut. Neither did Tony Boselli, the dominant Jaguars offensive lineman whose career lasted only 91 games because of shoulder injuries. The Jaguars are still without a player in the hall.
Atwater made it — in his 16th year of eligibility, no less. — and became the first home-grown Broncos defender to join the hall.