Speaking after Pittsburgh's wild-card game loss to the Baltimore Ravens, veteran safety Troy Polamalu said more than once that "time will tell" if the playoff defeat was the final game of his 12-year career, according to Ralph N. Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Polamalu was non-committal when asked about retirement after the 30-17 loss to the AFC North rival Ravens. But he did not discount the possibility.
"Honestly, we just lost a game," said Polamalu. "I don't think I'm prepared to even think about that or talk about that at this time."
Polamalu, who will turn 34 during the offseason, has two years left on his current contract with Pittsburgh. He has been limited this season by a knee injury, sitting out four of the team's final seven games.
He left the Steelers' Nov. 2 game against Baltimore early with a sprained knee, an injury which kept him out of Pittsburgh's subsequent game, a loss on the road to the New York Jets. He was also held out of the team's final two games of the season due to the injury.
In 12 games this season, he recorded 61 tackles and one fumble recovery, but no sacks or interceptions. In Sunday night's loss he had eight tackles, which led the Steelers defense.
Polamalu criticized his own performance against the Ravens on Sunday, saying "I didn't play good enough to win the game." But the safety, who won league Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2010, spoke highly of the team's young players.
"There is a lot of young talent all over the field," said Polamalu. "This team really grew throughout the season, not just in the secondary."
Pittsburgh finished the season 11-5 and won the AFC North. Polamalu, in his 12 years with the Steelers, has played in 158 games, recording 32 interceptions and tallying four All-Pro seasons. He has also appeared in eight Pro Bowls.