By Scott Brown
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The stir created by Alan Faneca's incisive and blunt comments Friday obscured the fact that several other key players are in the final year of their contract, most notably safety Troy Polamalu.
On a day when Faneca announced he will not end his career as a Steeler -- the team, he said, made him a "non-offer" in regard to a contract extension -- Polamalu said he would like to do just that.
"God willing, I'll be able to retire here as a Steeler," Polamalu said yesterday after a morning minicamp practice. "That's what I hope."
The Steelers will have to do something with Polamalu that they are apparently unwilling to do with Faneca: pony up some serious cash.
The five-year contract Polamalu signed before his rookie season in 2003 is worth just under $9 million.
His next contract will be a quantum leap from that, and the Steelers just may be willing to make Polamalu one of the highest-paid safeties in the league because he is a perennial Pro Bowler and is only 26 years old.
The Ravens made Ed Reed the highest-paid safety in league history last June when they signed him to a six-year deal that is worth as much as $40 million and included a $15 million signing bonus.
"I honestly haven't paid too much attention to it," Polamalu said of the progress he and the Steelers have made on a contract extension. "It's nothing that really worries me too much. I don't think about it every day."
Polamalu missed minicamp three weeks ago, but it had nothing to do with his contract. He was on a faith-based trip that he had planned well in advance of the scheduling of the voluntary minicamp.
"I want it to happen," Polamalu said of an extension, "but right now, it really doesn't matter