Polamalu, Harrison ponder future

PITTSBURGH -- The end of the season may also be the end of an era for two of the faces of the Steelers' defense.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison acknowledged that each has an uncertain future after Saturday's 30-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC wild-card round.

Polamalu still has two years left on his contract. But the 12-year veteran admitted that it was fair to question whether he had played his last NFL game.

"Yes, it is," Polamalu said. "Time will tell."

Polamalu recorded a team-high eight tackles in the loss to the Ravens after missing the Steelers' final two regular-season games because of an injury. The eight-time Pro Bowler had 61 tackles in 12 regular-season games but he did not intercept a pass and only forced one fumble.

Polamalu failed to record at least one interception or a sack in a season for the first time since 2007. He turns 34 in April, and team president Art Rooney II has said he wants Polamalu to retire as a Steeler.

Polamalu was the last player out of the Steelers' locker room after Saturday night's game at Heinz Field, and he said it is too soon to ponder the future.

"Honestly, we just lost a game," said Polamalu, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. "I don't think I'm prepared to even think about that or talk about that at this time."

Harrison echoed similar sentiments. The Steelers coaxed the 12th-year veteran out of retirement in September after Jarvis Jones dislocated his wrist.

A rejuvenated Harrison re-established himself as the Steelers' best pass rusher, as the five-time Pro Bowler recorded 5.5 sacks in 11 games. Harrison turns 37 in May, but he said he is intrigued by the idea of returning to the Steelers next season if they want to bring him back.

Jones is the only outside linebacker on the Steelers' 53-man roster who is signed beyond this season.

"You never want to end on a loss," said Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. "You want to go out kissing the Lombardi [Trophy].

"We'll see. I'm not going to answer a question [about the future] right now because I'm not in the right mind frame."

Both Polamalu and Harrison said the Steelers are headed in the right direction after winning the AFC North following consecutive 8-8 seasons.

"There is a lot of young talent all over the field," Polamalu said. "This team really grew throughout the season, not just in the secondary."