Friday Insider: Troy will depart with pride 55

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu poses with family and Vince Lombardi Trophy after win over Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII football game in Tampa

Troy Polamalu and wife Theodora celebrated his second Super Bowl title in Tampa in 2009. — GETTY

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Roundup of a lot of randomness from a lot of time around our teams …

Troy Polamalu is done, and he knows it.

That’s not a prediction, and it’s anything but a putdown. It’s just the best possible way to summarize years of being around this remarkable individual and paying heed to his own words and actions as related to how he’d someday be forced to walk away from football.

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Allow me, please, to piece together the picture:

In June 2011, shortly before the Steelers signed Polamalu to an extension aimed at keeping him in the fold through retirement. I wrote publicly that I was enthusiastically in favor of that extension. But before doing so, I placed a call to Marvin Demoff, Polamalu’s longstanding and highly respected agent, in large part to ask what might happen if his client no longer could perform and, thus, put the Steelers into the terrible position of having to release a legend.

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Podcast: All pucks on Penguins 24/7 w/ Metzer 0

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Here’s the podcast of my weekly appearance on Penguins Radio 24/7, the team’s online HD station, with host Brian Metzer. We talked mostly about the recent trades.

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Yankees 2, Pirates 1 24

Yankees

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Getting ready for first pitch …

Game: Pirates vs. New York Yankees, exhibition, 1:05 p.m., McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.

Pitchers: LHP Francisco Liriano vs. RHP Esmil Rogers

Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Online: Gameday / Multimedia / Official game notes

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Column: For Pitt, even the grade lacks a D 36

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Miami’s Sheldon McLellan hunts down Cam Wright on a fastbreak attempt Wednesday. — PITT

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

“We’re not going to hang our heads,” Cam Wright was saying at the long table in the Petersen Events Center’s press room. 

Immediately to his right was Mike Young, hanging his head.

“We didn’t make it any easier on ourselves, but we’re not done,” Jamie Dixon would tell us reporters a few minutes later. “Our focus right now is on beating Florida State.”

Kept a straight face, too.

“I don’t know what all the talk is going to be, but to me Pitt is a …”

Oooh, he almost said it, too. Those were the words of Miami coach Jim Larranaga, minutes after his Hurricanes blew right by the Panthers, 67-63, to leave the home side with virtually zero chance at the NCAA Tournament. And you just know he was about to tell us they still belonged.

Instead, he wisely took this route: “… they’ve beaten some awfully good teams.”

Yeah, they sure have. And it now sounds like a fine epitaph.

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Avalanche 3, Penguins 1 55

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BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Getting ready for faceoff …

Game: Penguins (36-17-9) vs. Colorado Avalanche (27-25-11), 10:08 p.m., Pepsi Center, Denver

Goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (29-13-6, 2.19) vs. Semyon Varlamov (10-12-2, 2.68)

TV, radio: Root Sports, 105.9 the X

Online: GameCenter / Multimedia / Official game notes

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On location: Miami 67, Pitt 63 41

Miami

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Getting ready for tipoff …

Game: Pitt (19-11, 8-8 ACC) vs. Miami (18-11, 8-8), 8:05 p.m., Petersen Events Center

TV, radio: WTAE (local), ACC Network (national), ESPN3 (online), 93.7 The Fan

Online: GameTracker / Multimedia / Official game notes

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Podcast: Troy, trades on 105.9 the X w/ Madden 6

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Here’s the podcast of my weekly visit to the 105.9 the X studio with Mark Madden. We talked Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. Good stuff, too.

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Duquesne 81, Fordham 66 2

Fordham

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Getting ready for tipoff …

Game: Duquesne (10-17, 5-12 Atlantic 10) vs. Fordham (9-18, 4-12), 7:05 p.m., Rose Hill Gym, New York

Video, radio: Atlantic 10 Digital Network, WJAS 1320 AM, iHeartRadio 3WS HD2

Online: GameTracker / Multimedia / Official game notes

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Blue Jays 4, Pirates 1 7

BlueJays

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

Getting ready for first pitch …

Game: Pirates vs. Toronto Blue Jays, exhibition, 1:05 p.m., McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.

Pitchers: RHP Gerrit Cole vs. RHP Marcus Stroman

Radio: MLB.com

Online: Gameday / Multimedia / Official game notes

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Morning Java: Five finest of Tomlin era 36

BY DEJAN KOVACEVIC

The Steelers could be in for a stormy few days, depending on how the statuses of Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Brett Keisel and Ike Taylor are handled, so it got me thinking about the best of the best in the Mike Tomlin era.

Hence, this terribly non-scientific top-five list, just for fun.

Obviously, feel free to offer your own in the comments below.