This afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers made it official that the organization has signed strong safety Troy Polamalu and tight end Heath Miller to new three-year contracts that will keep the two veterans with the team through 2016. No details on the financial terms of the deals were released. While Miller was rumored to have made a deal earlier this week, sources within the Steelers organization itself did not verify it at that time. News that the Steelers are continuing to bolster their defense by re-signing Polamalu is encouraging.
Originally drafted by the Steelers in the first round (16th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft, Polamalu has earned a spot amongst some of the greatest players to wear the black and gold. Polamalu was selected to the Steelers' 75th Anniversary Team in 2007, won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award (given to the top rookie on the team), and was the Steelers' Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2010. Polamalu has earned eight Pro Bowl selections, AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors seven times and has been named to both the first-team and second-team AP All-Pro lists. In 2010, Polamalu was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and the 2000's NFL All-Decade Team.
Polamalu's tenacity on the football field are rivaled only by his sense of humor off of it. Polamalu has recorded 32 career interceptions, tying him for seventh-most in Steelers team history. Add to that five career defensive touchdowns that tie him for second-most in franchise history. His hard-nosed play has garnered him respect among NFL elite and endured him to Steelers fans. His spots for Proctor & Gamble's Head and Shoulders brand shampoos have showcased Polamalu's ability to not only have fun with himself, but illustrate a side that isn't often witnessed by those who aren't in the locker room with him. In a recent interview with defensive end Brett Keisel, Polamalu's antics were a topic of humorous conversation.
Miller was drafted by the Steelers in the first round (30th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. His current streak of 81 regular season games in which he had at least one reception is a personal-best. Miller's team-best is the second longest in team history behind former wideout Hines Ward. As he heads into the 2014 season, Miller sits in the top ten of all tight ends in franchise history at third place in receptions (466), fifth in receiving touchdowns (40) and fifth in receiving yards (5,273). Combining those numbers, Miller has more than any other tight end in Steelers history.
Miller has also earned honors during his time in the NFL. In 2012, Miller became the first tight end in team history to be named Steelers' MVP. In 2005, he was the Joe Greene Great Performance Award recipient.
With Polamalu and Miller signing new contracts, the Steelers have stayed on task with Kevin Colbert's statement that the team would use extensions as a three-part way to meet compliance with the 2014 NFL Salary Cap. Keeping both veterans through the 2016 NFL Season will help the Steelers build a competitive team with two highly talented players and mentors; a tradition that has often paid off for the organization.