You’d be hard-pressed to find a more respected NFL player than Troy Polamalu. The Steelers legend was one of the best defensive players in the league for most of his 12-year NFL career. He also made a lot of money in the process. Polamalu elevated a position that doesn’t get the love of a quarterback or running back, making himself a household name in the process. Now in retirement, he’s doing well with a substantial net worth.
Troy Polamalu’s NFL career
The 16th overall pick of the 2003 NFL draft, reports Pro-Football-Reference, Polamalu came to the Steelers at the right time. Within a year, the team would have a new franchise quarterback and begin its greatest run since Terry Bradshaw was throwing the football for them decades earlier. If Roethlisberger’s arm wasn’t enough cause for concern, Polamalu and company’s work on offense and defense made things even harder.
The defensive back made his name at the legendary USC football program during some of its best play in years. Polamalu took that intensity and ability to track down the football and made it a key to his game. Although he came off the bench for his entire rookie season, the NFL took notice that a new defensive superstar was in the makings.
By his second year, Polamalu was the team’s full-time starter, and he did not look back from there. His star presence was just as vital to the Steelers’ resurgence as Roethlisberger’s arm was. In just his third year as a pro, he was an All-Pro player with years ahead of him. On top of that, the Steelers were Super Bowl champions who were always on the hunt for another ring.
By the time Polamalu retired in 2014, he was one of the best safeties that the league had ever seen, according to Bleacher Report. He had 32 interceptions with 398 yards, four All-Pro mentions, and eight Pro Bowl appearances along with two Super Bowl rings. He retired at just 33 with concerns for his future health, but while he was on the field he became a legend.
Polamalu off the field
As one of the most beloved players in the NFL, his image across the league quickly went above the football field. With his healthy head of hair, he became one of the most recognizable pitchmen in the league. Of course, companies like Head & Shoulders salivated at the opportunity to use Polamalu’s iconic hair to sell their products.
On top of endorsements, however, Polamalu never fell into the same traps that other athletes fall into before finding themselves broke. He made some of the same splurges as other athletes, but for the most part, he tried to keep his money and live a relatively modest life away from football. This helped him save some money.
Polamalu invests in money with the help of Dusan Miletich, but he does so cautiously. Miletich explained his strategy to ESPN.
“If the people who advise all these athletes aren’t willing to put their own money into an investment, then the athlete shouldn’t either,” Miletich told ESPN. “Ninety-nine percent of the people I’ve met are enablers. They bask in the halo of athletes. The best part about this is, if the other families don’t like what Troy is doing, we’ll fire him.”
Troy Polamalu’s net worth and what he’s up to today
Polamalu has a lot to be happy about. He’s financially secure, able to work with the NFL Players’ Association in retirement, and he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with the 2020 class. In all, Polamalu has a net worth of $30 million years after he began his retirement and shows the responsibility to make that stretch even bigger.
In a world where NFL headlines run on controversy, Polamalu led an inoffensive career that allowed him to bank in and still become one of the most beloved players. For that, he should be lauded.