Troy Polamalu: Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Graduates from USC

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 16, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  A detail of the back of the jersey of Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Our sincere congratulations are in order to one of the NFL's best players and funniest pitchmen.

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu graduated from the University of Southern California this past Saturday. He issued the following statement on his website,

"I'm thrilled to announce that on this cool, sunny Friday morning I donned a cap and gown, walked across the stage in the beautiful Alumni Park at University of Southern California, and was handed my diploma. I'm officially a USC graduate! While I feel excited and fulfilled, that's not really what I want to focus on in this message—I want to talk about the reason behind my decision to go back and finish what I started.

The majority of top picks in the NFL get drafted before they complete their college education. I truly love football and it's such an immense blessing and privilege as an athlete to be given the rare opportunity to use those talents at the highest professional level, but it's certainly not a replacement for an education. So I decided to finish what I started and walked that stage today not only because it was very important to me personally, but because I want to emphasize the importance of education, and that nothing should supersede it."Polamalu left USC after his junior season to enter the 2003 NFL draft, where he was the No. 16 pick overall."

At USC, Polamalu was a two-time All-Pac-10 first-teamer and was awarded the Most Inspirational Player Award by his teammates. Polamalu was named as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Mr. Polamalu leaves USC with a Bachelor's degree in history.