The Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin announced via the team's official website that its strong safety, Troy Polamalu, will start against the Ravens in an AFC wild-card playoff game on Saturday night.
Polamalu has been out the last two games due to a knee injury, according to ESPN. He has practiced all week for the 8:15 p.m. ET game at Heinz Field, and was listed as probable on the Steelers' final injury report.
Tomlin explained why it was essential for Troy to practice even in uncertainty on the official Steelers' website.
"I needed to see him prepare. Sometimes a guy is able to play at the 11th hour and they don't get the in-helmet preparation over the course of the work week. When you get to January football and the stakes are high, detail is going to define you. Not only him but us, and you need that in-helmet preparation to do it. He was able to practice this week, and so that made the decision easier."
As the Inquisitr reported earlier, there had been much speculation about Troy Polamalu's ability to continue playing as expected after almost 15 seasons.
Will Allen stepped in while Polamalu was absent from the field, and Allen received some praise from Dick LeBeau, defensive coordinator for the Steelers.
Tomlin was directly asked on the Steelers' website, "As the coach, is it a difficult decision to insert a guy into a group that had been playing well without him over a period of time?"
In response, his answer was pretty direct, "Not when it's Troy."
"So the decision in this case came down to who it is?" the interviewer asked.
"You bet," Tomlin replied.
Obviously, Tomlin does not feel the time is right to replace Troy Polamalu with anyone, no matter how talented the secondary person seems to be.
To add to the drama, the Steelers will be battling the Ravens without running back Le'Veon Bell. He will be out because of a hyperextended right knee, and rookie Josh Harris will start in place of him.
Tomlin did not expect Bell to be very happy about his decision to keep him out of the Ravens game.
"I said at the top of the week that I would do what was right, and I feel like I did that. It's not necessarily going to be a popular decision with him, but that's why we like him. That's why he is the player he is -- because he is a competitor."
It's going to be a game fans of the Steelers and Ravens will want to watch on the edge of their seats. Steelers' fans are hoping to watch Troy Polamalu use his experience to help the Steelers defeat the Ravens, while Ravens' fans can only hope Tomlin made a huge mistake by placing his faith in a veteran player.