The mutual respect between Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and safety Troy Polamalu has been apparent over the years. They both have had great admiration for each other since Polamalu joined the Steelers in 2003.
Recently Polamalu called LeBeau the "greatest coach of all-time." This week, LeBeau returned the favor by praising Polamalu on a recent conference call leading up to LeBeau's Hall of Fame induction on Aug. 7.
"Probably Troy has the most versatility of any of the [defensive] backs that I've coached. He literally could do anything. You ask him to blitz, he's going to be a great blitzer. If you ask him to cover a wide receiver, he's probably going to do a good job there. If you ask him to play in the linebacker area and chase down the runner, he'll do that well, and he can coordinate the coverage from behind. He has a great knowledge of the defense. I couldn't find a weakness in Troy, and that's a true blessing from a defensive coordinator's standpoint. He just kind of opens the playbook to anything you want to do. It's just a matter of how far off the diving board you want to go."
Polamalu's importance to LeBeau's scheme was evident last year when a knee injury sidelined the safety for 11 games. Pittsburgh uncharacteristically had trouble holding leads in the fourth quarter.