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Steelers not worried about Troy Polamalu criticism

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Pittsburgh Steelers

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Troy Polamalu might not be Troy Polamalu anymore, but the Steelers aren’t about to suggest they don’t need him.

The veteran safety has missed the last two games with a sore knee, and four of the last seven with a variety of injuries. But he’s expected to return Saturday against the Ravens, sparking the questions of whether he should replace Will Allen in the starting lineup.

That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” safety Mike Mitchell said, via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s absurd. It just shows the disrespect that some people have, and they have no clue about our game.”

Except maybe they do. The Steelers have played better on defense without him lately than with him earlier in the year. And coach Mike Tomlin might not have helped kill the curiousity about his status by hedging when asked if Polamalu would get his starting job back when well.

“There are complexities to these things, and we’re going to deal with them on a case-by-case basis at the appropriate time,” Tomlin said.

It’s hard to imagine them not getting him out there in some role, as his 14 playoff appearances are tied for the most on the team with Ben Roethlisberger and Ike Taylor, and he has a long track record of game-changing plays against the Ravens.

“He has that uncanny ability, that God-sent gift to diagnose plays and make the plays that other guys are afraid to make,” Mitchell said. “The only thing I can think of when he isn’t on the field is that I know exactly where Will Allen is going to be at all times. That doesn’t mean it’s a better defense. It just says Will does it more by the book.”

We’ll see Saturday night if Polamalu is able to write a fitting final chapter.