Monday, July 23, 2007By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
(Published: 3:40 p.m., updated 5:32 p.m.)
The Steelers agreed to a contract extension today with safety Troy Polamalu, assuring one of their best players will remain in Pittsburgh for a while longer.
Polamalu signed a five-year contract worth $33 million, making him the highest-paid Steeler and highest-paid safety in the NFL. He will receive bonuses -- including signing and roster bonuses -- of $15,375,000.
Polamalu, who has made every Pro Bowl since he became the Steelers' starting strong safety in 2004, had one year left on the contract he signed as a rookie in 2003.
Polamalu, sweating profusely after going through the Steelers run test on the first day of camp, thought about what the new contract means to him.
"It means that I have to work harder and go out and earn it, that's what it means to me,'' Polamalu said. "So it's very exciting, especially for my wife and me. We feel very welcome in the city and I think this contract really puts our roots down here."
As for making him the highest paid safety in the league, Polamalu said that was never an issue.
"First and foremost, it mattered to me that it was a fair contract. A lot of people are making a lot of money out there. I wanted it to be very fair and I wanted it to be here. Those were the most important things."
At 5-10, 207 pounds, Polamalu plays a unique brand of safety, lining up in various positions on defense. Coordinator Dick LeBeau has designed many of his defenses to take advantage of Polamalu's ability.
"Troy Polamalu is a very special football player who has been a key ingredient to our success over the past few seasons," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "We are excited to know he will be a Steeler for many seasons to come."