Written by Brett Lay Wednesday, 08 September 2010 11:01
The very picture of a somber mood is painted on the Steelers’ practice unit, as a light drizzle falls from the gray skies of this appropriately named “Steel City”, the sounds of pads popping and helmets clashing on the practice field not betraying the disappointment of one Troy Polamalu, the Steelers’ hard hitting Strong Safety.
Polamalu sits on the bench, stoically gazing at the battling gladiators as they hone their skills for the war that is the NFL season to come. Troy’s silent presence cheers on his compatriots even with just his physical proximity, although they know that the potential for disaster looms on the dreary horizon, and yet they valiantly fight the good fight without one of their key pieces.
Ever since long hair entered the league in the same draft class as Edgerrin James in 1999, it has continually fought from the realm of obscurity, to the forefront of the sporting world, revealing the mystery of its flowing prowess, stunning uselessness set against a backdrop of being overpaid to do virtually nothing.
In other words, Hair fought from baseline to be just as respected as any professional athlete alive today, along with all the hills and valleys that go with said fame.
It wasn’t long after that Hair (as he affectionately came to be known in the locker room) soon began to grow an equally large and flowing ego. It was awarded a new contract in the 2004 season, and with this came money, prestige, and fame. It was on center stage, and consumed with newfound power, it flaunted its presumed influence and assumption of being above the law on an unsuspecting populace. A criminal record soon formed, and long Hair began to keep the wrong kind of company.
Hair then went through a rough bout in early 2005 and was remanded into the custody of a Pennsylvania state prison institution for armed robbery and DUI. It was shortly after Troy Polamalu then saw the opportunity, and picked Hair up from waivers, thinking he could reform and redeem it, and restore it to its rightful standing.
Although many people still mocked long Hair, thinking it to be nothing more than another trend that would surely fall to the wayside, like the Wing T offense, goal posts on the goal line, or Soccer. This all changed in 2009, when Polamalu’s Hair single handedly won Super Bowl XL. Even subbing in for Ben Roethlisberger on a few run plays so the QB could catch his breath and field calls from the Lifetime network.
Hair truly appeared to be back on the good track, and looked to be heading towards the Hall of Fame that even this reporter predicted for it before the unfortunate Prell shampoo incident of 2005.
Unfortunately, all of these expectations were put on hold this week, when Hair insured itself for one million dollars, just to prove how awesome it was. Before announcing that unless it were to be paid a guaranteed “sixty gajillion” dollars this season, it was prepared to sit out.
“I tried to tell him,” announced Mike Tomlin, Steelers head coach, at a press conference Tuesday, “that nobody on anyone’s defense makes this kind of money, and we sure weren’t going to talk when he is currently signed to an existing contract.” He then leaned back and stroked his chin before continuing: “Also, I’m not even sure a gajillion is a real number, but if it is, the only one making that kind of money would be Peyton Manning.”
At this point, Peyton Manning appeared in a titanium warp-powered diamond encrusted time traveling space ship to confirm that not only is a gajillion a real amount, but that he did in fact make several of them, before beaming himself back into his vehicle and blasting off towards the Cartesian star system in the Delta Quadrant, where he owns a summer home.
All is not necessarily lost for the Steelers this season yet, though. Although Hair looks to have battened down the hatches, prepared to ride out this season on the bench, there may be an alternative for them yet.
“I could always just get a haircut, I guess,” said Polamalu.