With all due respect to his fellow voters, Troy Polamalu wants nothing to do with the most valuable player award of the Steelers -- an honored he nonetheless received today.
It's not that he does not appreciate the honor, bestowed by a vote of his teammates; he prefers there be no such thing as team MVP nor even the Steelers Walter Payton Man of the Year award he also picked up Thursday.
"I would have to say that football is such a perfect team sport, nd it's hard to make anybody -- especially our team and the way we play on defense -- a most valuable player,'' said Polamalu. "I've never been a fan of either award."
Polamalu, who was chosen for his sixth Pro Bowl in his eight seasons with the Steelers, became only the second safety chosen as Steelers' MVP since the award began in 1969. The other safety to win it was Glen Edwards in 1974.
Now all he wants to do is get back on the playing field. Coach Mike Tomlin said Polamalu, who missed the past two games with an Achilles-related injury, will try to practice today.
"I am hoping to play this week, whatever is Coach Tomlin's decision,'' Polamalu said.
Teammate Hines Ward said the team was told after a walk-through practice this morning that Polamalu was voted team MVP. The official announcement was made this afternoon.
"Hands down he is the most valuable player this year on our team,'' Ward said. "He's valuable, period. Single-handily, he's won some games for us. It's well deserved. There were a lot deserving, but I voted for Troy."
Polamalu, who made his sixth Pro Bowl this week and fifth as a starter, delivered at least three game-turning plays this season. He intercepted a pass at the 2 late in the game that prevented Buffalo from winning on Nov. 28. He caused a fumble when he sacked quarterback Joe Flacco in Baltimore Dec. 5 that set up the winning touchdown with 2:51 left. His interception for a touchdown in the second quarter Dec. 12 erased a 7-0 Cincinnati lead and the Steelers went on to a 23-7 victory.
"He means so much to our team,"' Ward said. "He's just the X-factor, he really makes a difference. With him on the field playing, I know he gives us that opportunity, something's going to happen. When we need something the most, 99.9 percent of the time he's come up big."