This is not a good sign for a team that narrowly lost last year’s Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers and was hoping to go back and win it all this season.
In fact, it’s a major hindrance that will end any chance of them accomplishing that goal.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Polamalu has had issues with concussions dating back to his high school career, and pro teams were concerned about it when he came out of USC in 2003.
Surprisingly, the 30-year-old safety has managed to mostly avoid them in the NFL despite his physical, hard-hitting style of play.
After taking a shot to the head early against Kansas City, Polamalu lingered around the sidelines but removed his helmet in the second quarter.
Schefter and Merril Hoge, a man who has been concussed many times himself, both concurred that they don’t believe the Steelers star will return to action for quite some time, and it seems they were indicating his season is in jeopardy.
The Steelers will not be able to make it to the Super Bowl or deep into the playoffs without the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year and the heart and soul of their secondary.
They rely too much on Polamalu making plays in the air, forcing ball-carriers to fumble and getting to the quarterback on safety blitzes.
There is simply no way they can replace his production, and it will force them to completely change their defensive schemes now that Ryan Mundy is taking his place.
Mundy played well for a game against perhaps the worst team in the league right now, but he can’t be expected to perform like Troy against Baltimore and other elite squads.
Mundy had 11 tackles and an interception after he came in the game, but that was against a Tyler Palko-led offense.
The Steelers had better pray that Polamalu returns soon and the concussion will not endanger his career. They will not be the same team without him.