Troy Polamalu is best known for his lengthy hair and ability to punish anyone who ventures into the Pittsburgh secondary. What people might not know is that he's a rather large MMA fan, incredibly soft-spoken and a very spiritual gentleman.
FanHouse caught up with him at the Nike Global Training Summit and discussed his MMA fanhood, the likelihood of a Steelers repeat, and whether he's had any changes to his training regimen this offseason.
FanHouse: "Troy -- did you change your workout regimen at all this year, to put any emphasis on flexibility?"
Troy Polamalu: "No, I've had more time with my trainer than I've had previously. That's probably the only thing that's changed a little bit."
FH: "How do you feel about your repeat chances, knowing that it's obviously too early in the season?"
Polamalu: "It's obviously too early. (Awkward laughter) ... Honestly, man, we have a great situation in the sense that we never, ever thought about the Super Bowl. We were always playing the Cardinals. We never thought about that -- that's just the mentality of Pittsburgh. It's just the blue-collar mentality. And that mentality is "I get up for work every day. I do the very same thing every day. My mind-thought hasn't changed, nothing has changed. I'm doing the same thing every day." And it's a grind. It really is a grind. And that's what the people in Pittsburgh have learned by waking up and going to a steel mill and working for 10 hours every day. And these type of qualities are found in Pittsburgh like nowhere else in the country."
FH: "Talk about MMA for a little bit -- I know you mentioned it -- how big a fan are you and do you regularly attend events?"
Polamalu: "No, I've never attended ... actually, I have attended one event, I'm sorry. I don't know, it's almost ... above athleticism. THere are some guys that I'm more of a fan of where it's more than MMA, it's really a martial art. You know, a martial art is no different than say, a painter -- true martial arts are. It really is an art. And it's no different from Michaelangelo in a sense in the way that he draws or paints things. So I'm a fan of real martial arts guys -- guys that have something different than just a physical talent. Guys like Rickson Gracie and , I believe they have that."
FH: "Talk about how you got into MMA and the aspect of 'controlling your body' and the 'art form' aspect:
Polamalu: "Honestly, at first, when I was younger, it was just about the fight. Now that I'm becoming more of an authentic fan, it's not about the guts and glory, it's about the martial art. [...] I think it's about mastering your self, your own fears, your ego, whatever passions you may have. And when you master that -- they say the best gift from God is self-knowledge, to be able to know your self. For example, there's nothing more disappointing for me to see someone who's scared of heights and they get up on that high diveboard and you see [their] face just transform from that happy-go-lucky friend to the face of fear. And whenever you can overcome things like that, it's the most beautiful thing. And martial arts, I think that's what it's all about, and sports in general and training in general, it's all about overcoming that fear of failure, of pride, whatever it may be -- it's different from person to person."