Staying with Steelers was Polamalu's goal

Troy Polamalu quietly sat back and watched as LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons and Ike Taylor signed contract extensions since the start of training camp. He never said anything, other than how happy he was for his teammates, singing their praises and talking about how valuable each is to the defense.

He never complained that while their deals were done, his wasn't. When it came to talking about his own contact, Polamalu respectfully declined answering questions, instead keeping any talks that were taking place between his agent and the team.

Many thought maybe the deal wouldn't get done before the 2011 season kicked off, maybe Polamalu would become a free agent at the end of the year.

Polamalu wasn't among those thinking that way. In his heart, he didn't want to go anywhere, didn't want to leave Pittsburgh. And the Steelers didn't want him going anywhere either.  

The two sides agreed to a four-year extension on the eve of the 2011 season, with Polamalu signing the new deal that will keep him in black and gold through the 2014 season at Pittsburgh International Airport shortly before leaving for Baltimore to take on the Ravens.

"It's been a goal of mine since I was a rookie. I was hoping to always play for one organization," said Polamalu. "It shows the level of commitment on both ends from the ownership to the player.

"It's loyalty on two parts; it's not a one-way street. The first meeting that I had with Mr. (Art) Rooney I explained to him how loyal I am to this organization, how much I want to retire a Pittsburgh Steeler and how anxious I am to get it done. I am honored and blessed and thank God to be able to be coming back the next four years and retire a Pittsburgh Steeler."

Polamalu was the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, finishing the season with seven interceptions, 64 tackles and a sack. He has a knack for coming out of nowhere to make a play, constantly getting into the mindset of opposing quarterbacks and wreaking all kinds of havoc on the field.

But get him away from the field and the soft-spoken Polamalu always defers any praise bestowed upon him to his teammates and coaches, people he is fiercely loyal to and didn't want to leave.

"Most importantly I am loyal to my brothers in the locker room, to a great head coach, and maybe the greatest coach of all-time, Coach (Dick) LeBeau, who is our father figure," said Polamalu. "I am loyal to them. Of course with the Rooney family and the organization they have created around here, the family environment that we have. It's unlike anything I could experience anywhere else.

"To me it's always been an organization of loyalty, humility and blue collar. When you say blue collar it epitomizes all of those virtues. It's where I have come from, growing up in Oregon, growing up less fortunate in California. It falls in line with a lot of the values I have been raised with."

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