Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Polamalu: Steelers' harmony starts at top
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- If the disturbing story that has emerged from the inner workings of the Dolphins’ locker room seems so far away to the Steelers, that is because it is.
And not because Miami is a thousand miles south of Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have long cultivated a family-type atmosphere among their players and employees, and they rarely have anything that remotely qualifies as a locker room problem.
Troy Polamalu talked about that culture on ESPN’s "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on Tuesday, and the Steelers’ strong safety provided an illuminating look at it.
"I was actually worried coming out of college [in 2004] because you hear about stories, people getting their hair shaved or what not and I thought they would cut my hair when I came it Pittsburgh, but it was the exact opposite here," Polamalu said on "The Herd." "Guys accepted me with open arms. Anything I needed whether it was a car, whether it was to sleep at their house and we only return that favor now that I’m a veteran on the team. Any young guy, whether they need a car or a house or some extra spending cash, whatever it may be we try our best to help them."
Polamalu said that ethos starts at the top with chairman emeritus Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney II.
"They’ve really instilled a family environment that's permeated our locker room so whenever a rookie comes in we accept them with open arms," Polamalu said. "We teach them the best way we know on how to be professional, how to take care of your body, how to train, how to learn the defense, the offense, whatever it may be.
"Coach [Mike] Tomlin says all the time if you’re willing to help us win and put your hand in the pile then you're family around here. That's really something we preach to anybody comes in, whether they’re a veteran from another team or whether they're a young guy that's drafted."
Tomlin echoed similar sentiments during his weekly news conference.
"We take a simple approach in that young players can be quality reasons why we're successful so if they're capable and willing to help us in terms of what we desire to get done as a football team then we're all committed to helping them help us," the seventh-year coach said. "I think our veteran players embrace that and have mentor-like relationships with our young guys, but I'm sure that's the approach most teams take in terms of how they handle young people and raise them."