The NFL, when it comes down to it, is a league that has very little room for sentiment, and the Pittsburgh Steelers look set to prove that this offseason with a decision that may anger some of their fans.
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport revealed today that, per two sources within the Steelers franchise, those in decision making positions in Pittsburgh believe that Troy Polamalu will not be back for the 2015 season.
With the perennial All-Star safety now 34 the franchise are unwilling to offer him a new deal. Indeed, the only issue that remains to be decided, it appears, is how the two-time Super Bowl winner leaves the franchise.
Speaking after the Steelers' playoff defeat back in January, Polamalu failed to rule out retirement from the league he joined way back in 2003, and it looks like that is what Pittsburgh officials are hoping for moving forward.
According to Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette:
"That is the elephant in the room...I expect him not to be here by some means. The Steelers are hoping he would retire, but I don't know if he is going to."
With the future Hall of Famer's form having declined during the 2014 season, and a $6 million cap hit if he did re-sign, retirement would be the ideal out for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Polamalu has been with the franchise for 12 seasons. He has optimized the Steelers' ethos for over a decade, collecting two Super Bowl rings and eight Pro Bowl appearances in the process. Having to officially release him and watch him depart for another team in free agency would be a very bitter pill to swallow for both fans and Pittsburgh staff.
Whether Troy Polamalu is willing to hang up his cleats is another question however. Yes, he isn't the player he once was but telling a player of his calibre that it is time to walk away from the NFL is a tough sell. Not to mention the two-year deal he still has in place and the money that brings in.
What do you think Steelers fans? Are Pittsburgh right to cut ties with Polamalu and could you really see him playing for another team in 2015? Let us know in the comments section below...