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fordfixer
11-14-2009, 01:57 AM
Ex-USC teammates Palmer, Polamalu to reunite tomorrow
Saturday, November 14, 2009
By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09318/1013449-66.stm

The bearded guy from the foothills southeast of Los Angeles and the long-maned Samoan raised in Oregon will get together after last seeing one another up close and personal Oct. 28, 2007.

There have been four Cincinnati Bengals-Steelers games and more than two calendar years since quarterback Carson Palmer and safety Troy Polamalu met facemask to facemask.

Are they looking forward to it?

"No," Polamalu said firmly yesterday. He paused and manufactured a small smile. "If he was a bad quarterback, yeah."

The feeling among old University of Southern California friends, teammates and housemates is mutual.

"Love watching him play," added Palmer, who escorts AFC North-leading Cincinnati -- with the same 6-2 record as the Steelers they trumped, 23-20, Sept. 27 -- into Heinz Field for a 1 p.m. kickoff tomorrow. "Hate playing against him."

Injuries conspired to keep them apart for so long.

In Week 3 this season, with Polamalu absent due to his MCL sprain, Palmer coolly directed the Bengals from a 20-9 deficit to a 23-20 victory in Paul Brown Stadium. He marched them on 85- and 71-yard drives to touchdowns in the final 9:14, including the winner with 14 seconds left.

In 2008, Palmer missed both Bengals-Steelers matchups because of an elbow injury.

In 2007, Polamalu sat out the Dec. 2 affair because of a knee injury, but they faced one another three days before Halloween ... when Palmer completed 23 of 31 passes for 205 yards and a 102.2 passer rating while Polamalu made nine tackles and one pass deflection in a 24-13 Steelers road win.

Tomorrow, they meet again with Palmer methodically, if not aesthetically, steering Cincinnati's offense and Polamalu gradually returning to his otherworldly form for the Steelers' defense.

Palmer has completed 61 percent of his passes this season, nearly a career low for him. He has not lost a fumble, but has thrown seven interceptions in eight games and amassed 14 touchdowns and 1,832 yards to date.

Polamalu has returned after missing 4 1/2 games to lead the Steelers in interceptions -- with three in 13 quarters -- and rack up their third-most pass deflections (5).

"I'm hanging in there," Polamalu said of his wounded knee. "It's getting there. But we'll see."

Palmer told Cincinnati reporters earlier in the week: "We didn't have a chance to play against him last time, [so] he'll be ready to play this one. I know he'll be looking forward to this game as will their entire defense. There are always a couple of wrinkles with him.

"And then just worrying about him and seeing him on every play because he makes a lot of plays and is all over the place and runs the fastest guy on the field down from all over the place and does his thing. ... It's going to be a great game."

They do not talk often on the phone. "When we do, it's like old times," Palmer said.

He has yet to give Polamalu grief about the Head and Shoulders commercials, although he wondered aloud if his buddy had acting classes at the University of Southern California: "Looks like if he took some, it definitely paid off because he looks good."

These two have waged some intriguing hairpulls in the past. Polamalu sacked and intercepted Bengals backup Jon Kitna once Palmer got hurt after his lone, 66-yard pass attempt and completion in the 31-17 loss to the Super Bowl XL-bound Steelers in the 2005 playoffs.

Five weeks earlier, Palmer had passed for three touchdowns and 227 yards in a 38-31 Bengals triumph. In 2004, in their inaugural NFL meeting, Polamalu walloped Palmer at the goal line and returned a 26-yard interception for a touchdown in a 28-17 Steelers victory.

Back then, Palmer suggested that Polamalu had him deciphered.

"Oh, no, I don't know him," Polamalu demurred yesterday. "Not any more than anybody else."

"He reads everybody," said Ryan Clark, who joked that his sorry self is the reason why the Steelers' safety tandem is not considered among the greatest in the game's history, what with Polamalu's achievements. "You don't get seven picks [in 2008] off one quarterback. You don't make plays all year off one quarterback. He doesn't just read a quarterback's eyes. 'Cause quarterbacks will lie to you."

"I'm glad Troy's back," offered receiver Chad Ochocinco.

For once, it isn't about him.

This is about the two roommates, together again.

"Yeah, he's doing really great," Polamalu said.

"It's a great defense with or without Troy," Palmer added diplomatically. But "with Troy on the field, it's even better. To me, he's one of the best players in this game."



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09318/10 ... z0WoJRpYGe (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09318/1013449-66.stm#ixzz0WoJRpYGe)

stlrz d
11-14-2009, 11:25 AM
Loved it when Troy picked him off and trucked him at the goal line to score the TD!

RuthlessBurgher
11-14-2009, 11:35 AM
http://www.bestsportsphotos.com/image.php?productid=26052

Captain Lemming
11-14-2009, 11:31 PM
I for one hope Palmer and Polamalu to "reunite" SEVERALTIMES tomorrow. 8)