This is an article from the April 4, 2011 issue
UNEMPLOYED FOOTBALL PLAYER
The Steelers' All-Pro safety is nursing his wounds this spring after losing the Super Bowl to the Packers and being locked out by the NFL.
Dan Patrick:Where are you right now?
Troy Polamalu: I'm down at Minnesota Twins spring training.
DP:Are you taking batting practice?
TP: No, I haven't fully healed from my Achilles injury. I don't know if it'd be a good idea to make it worse by doing BP.
DP:Is there a baseball player out there that you think could play in the NFL?
TP: There are a lot of great two-sport athletes. Joe Mauer was a player of the year in football and baseball. Someone like him could have been just as successful as a quarterback in the NFL. He made the smart decision because he's got a job right now.
DP:Are you officially unemployed?
TP: Yes. I'm looking for work. It sucks that I wasn't able to take batting practice today. I hoped I'd get lucky enough to hit one out of the ballpark and maybe get a one-day contract.
DP:The NFL has made some rules changes during the lockout. Does the league want the game to be more entertaining or safer?
TP: I think they want a bit of both. The nature of the game is that it's very violent. You can only do so much to make it safe without really messing with the true essence of our game. It's a shame we weren't able to have a say in any of the rule changes. That signifies how much power the NFL has.
DP:How frustrated are you by that lack of input?
TP: It's very frustrating. [The players] take all the licks, so we should definitely have a majority of the say of what goes on in the game.
DP:Have you watched the replay of the Super Bowl?
TP: I've watched it in my mind thousands of times.
DP:What grade would you give yourself?
TP: A losing grade. When you consider yourself a team guy, you're either a winner or loser. There's no B, C or D grade. It's pass or fail—especially in a game of that magnitude.
DP:Have you been invited to Ben Roethlisberger's wedding?
TP: I have. I think he probably invited the entire football team.
DP:Who will be the worst dancer at the reception?
TP: Hines [Ward] probably. [Laughs.]
DP: Hines is killing it on Dancing with the Stars.
TP: [Laughs.] Probably myself, to be honest. Hines did a great job on Dancing with the Stars.
DP:Would you do the show?
TP: No. It's not really my cup of tea.
DP:Would it be more painful than losing a Super Bowl?
DP:How bad was losing to the Packers?
TP: During my whole career I went into these games feeling that whatever the outcome is, I'll be happy as long as I give great effort. But this Super Bowl gave me so much more appreciation for how much effort it takes to get to that point. We had to face a lot of things outside of football that other teams didn't have to deal with: the situation regarding Ben's missing the first four games and then the fines on the hits. It was a great job by coach Mike Tomlin and his staff to even get us to the Super Bowl.
• Onto Derrick
To the casual fan, Derrick Williams came out of nowhere to star in the NCAA tournament, carrying Arizona into the Elite Eight—but not to Jim Boeheim (above). The Syracuse coach pointed out that even college basketball writers hadn't been paying attention to Williams, noting the absence of his name in the player-of-the-year discussion. "Every pro guy that I've talked to," Boeheim told me, "has said all year that he's the Number 1 pick in the draft."
Last week reports surfaced that likely top 10 picks A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson did poorly on the Wonderlic exam at the NFL combine. Scores are confidential, but they always leak out. Tony Dungy told me that teams view the test as just one of many tools for judging players, but the problem is, it creates perceptions that stick to players. Combine tests are optional. I'd like to see players pass on the Wonderlic. Better yet, the NFL should get smart and stop giving the test.
• Line of the week
Duke freshman Kyrie Irving on whether he'll declare himself eligible for the NBA draft: "There's really no reason why I wouldn't come back. I love everything about Duke, and the whole situation for me is perfect.... Honestly I'm not sure right now."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com
1. Dennis Quaid talks about his role in the new movie Soul Surfer.
2. Mark Cuban discusses his latest plan for changing the BCS.
THE FINE PRINT: Colts tight end Dallas Clark plays a detective in an April 13 episode of CBS's Criminal Minds. At the end of the show his badge gets decertified.