Troy Polamalu: Put Up or Shut Up

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IDecember 21, 2009

DENVER - NOVEMBER 09:  Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers leaves the field after the game against the Denver Broncos on during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 9, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Steelers defeated the Broncos 28-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Last night, we finally saw what we all wanted. 

Some heart shown by the Pittsburgh Steelers team that had previously dropped five straight games to teams they should have beaten without a second thought.

But, we also saw a lot of things that we didn't want to see.

Like Tyrone Carter making bonehead play after bonehead play. 

Last night's game pretty much cemented my opinion that Carter does not need to be re-signed come this offseason. In fact, if he is, it would be just another bonehead play.

The other thing that came to mind was that strong safety Troy Polamalu needs to suck it up, and get back on the field for a team that needs him now. 

I understand he's hurt, I understand that his knee is banged up. Trust me, I know knee injuries well. 

But at the same time, it's obviously not an injury that's keeping him from standing on the sidelines. Yes, standing. Perhaps if he was confined to a wheelchair, or crutches even, I'd have some sympathy. 

Hurt or not, it's time to take a cue from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and play through it for the betterment of your team. Roethlisberger came back to play after a life-threatening motorcycle accident and Polamalu can't come back after hurting his knee?

Wait, I thought that quarterbacks were supposed to be the princesses of the league? 

Face it: It's December; there's not a player out there that sees the field that's not playing through some sort of injury.

Take a look at St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (lovingly referred to by myself as SJax). He's playing through not only the flu, but also a back injury. I'd take a knee injury over a back injury any day of the week. Not to mention he's putting up great numbers with an offensive line that my high school team could have pummeled. 

I can't speak for the majority of Steelers fans out there, but I'll gladly take a 50-75 percent Polamalu over a 100 percent Carter anytime I'm given the option. 

Polamalu brings more to the field than just dynamic play. He brings a sense of leadership, and he brings an attitude. He brings the "Swagga" you hear Ike Taylor talking about. He is without a doubt the heart of this defense that has tried their absolute hardest to give games away late. 

Troy, we love you, but we need you to man up here and now. Suck it up, grit your teeth, and play. It's not a hard concept. 

It's time to show your heart, your toughness, and your determination. Go out, play hard, and you'll gain more respect than you'll probably deserve. Show everyone out there without a doubt that there should be no questions about this team's toughness. 

And on a side note, where is Hines Ward commenting on Polamalu's toughness? Or is that an honor reserved only for Roethlisberger? 

As always, my work can be found at both the Pittsburgh Pigskin Blog and the Sports Jabber homepage and forums.