Troy Polamalu OTAs watch will soon begin

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers conclude rookie minicamp Sunday and next up on their offseason schedule is the start of organized team activities (OTAs).

That means it is almost time to begin the annual Troy Polamalu Watch.

Every year, it seems, there is a question of how much the Steelers safety will take part in, if at all, the voluntary practices that start the day after Memorial Day and run until the middle of June.

Polamalu spends his offseasons training in California with Marv Marinovich, and the eight-time Pro Bowler credited his work with Marinovich -- as well as his massage therapist -- for staying healthy enough to play every game last season despite logging a significant number of snaps at inside linebacker.

Polamalu who turned 33 a month ago, isn’t getting any younger, which might make him more inclined to train in California until the Steelers conclude their offseason program with a mandatory minicamp in the middle of June.

On the other hand, Polamalu has extra incentive to participate in OTAs since he will have to adjust to a new free safety after starting with Ryan Clark on the back end of the Steelers’ defense since 2006.

And free safety Mike Mitchell, who signed with the Steelers in March, has said he hopes to practice with Polamalu as much as possible so he can get a feel for one of the most unique playing styles in the NFL.

If Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is expecting – or hoping – that Polamalu takes part in OTAs in some form he isn’t saying.

“They’re voluntary,” Tomlin said. “It’s not 100 percent attendance across the league. I’m not getting into that with any particular player. We’ll work with the ones that show up and get them better.”