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Troy Polamalu elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former USC Trojans two-time All-America safety Troy Polamalu, who spent his entire 12-year professional career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Troy, who was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, was in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. Players must be retired for at least five years before they are eligible.

Polamalu will become the 13th former USC player to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joins RB Marcus Allen, E Red Badgro, HB Frank Gifford, DB Ronnie Lott, OL Bruce Matthews, OT Ron Mix, OT Anthony Munoz, LB Junior Seau, RB O.J. Simpson, WR Lynn Swann, DB Willie Wood, and OT Ron Yary.

“Honestly, it’s just surreal,” Polamalu told the Steelers’ website. “I really feel surreal. I’m very thankful for all my teammates. This truly is a tribute to them. And I feel honored and unworthy of this, to be honest.”

“Troy was the kind of player who was able to impact the outcome of games from his safety position,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “And he did it with uncanny instincts that made it almost impossible for opposing offenses to predict where he would be.  Troy was truly a playmaker every time he stepped on the field, and we couldn’t be happier for him.”

One of the hardest hitters in pro and college football history, Polamalu came to USC as a “3-star” prospect out of Tenmile, Oregon (Douglas High) and was not considered at the time a “big time” prospect, although he did receive a number of post-season honors for his prep work. His senior season at Douglas High, Polamalu played in just four games due to injury.

Already a member of the USC Hall of Fame, Troy Polamalu (photo above) is now part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Back in 1999, former Trojans head coach Paul Hackett took a chance on Polamalu at the recommendation of his running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu, who was Troy’s uncle, and the rest is history. Thanks to Pete Carroll’s arrival as head coach at USC in 2001, Polamalu fit perfectly into Carroll’s schemes and was instrumental in laying the early groundwork for what turned out to be, under Carroll, a Trojans dynasty.

Former Trojans safety Troy Polamalu (photo above) is a two All-America selection.

Joining Polamalu into this years’ HOF class are former Denver safety Steve Atwater, former LA Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce, former Seattle and Minnesota offensive guard Steve Hutchinson, and former Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James. The newest Hall of Famers will be formally enshrined Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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