Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, front, intercepts a pass intended… (Keith Srakocic )
Former USC safety Troy Polamalu will be easy to spot when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The Steelers’ 29-year-old strong safety will be the one with the long mane of thick, wavy black hair cascading out of his helmet. He’s the only player in NFL history to have his hair insured by Lloyd’s of London (Head & Shoulders shampoo took out a $1 million policy for their spokesman).
Quiet and reserved off the field, Polamalu is known for his speed and agility on the gridiron. And the agile Samoan splits his time between Pittsburgh and San Diego during the offseason. After arriving in Dallas to prep for the Super Bowl, Polamalu chatted about some of the places he loves the most, including Maui and Tenmile, Ore.
Polamalu is spearheading this year’s TwitChange, a Twitter-based charity auction, which gives fans an opportunity to interact with celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Eva Longoria and Polamalu. Part of Polamalu’s prize package includes a pair of Super Bowl tickets for the winning bidder. All the proceeds from the campaign will benefit Operation Once in a Lifetime, which supports active duty and retired members of the military. The auction runs through Saturday.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I love Hawaii. I really enjoy surfing in Oahu, and Waianae is such a great area. And Maui — I like Maui a lot, too.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. In Pennsylvania, I love the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington. It’s a scenic area. We also enjoy visiting the Laurel Highlands in Western Pennsylvania. The mountains are really something to be seen and it’s a great area to be outside.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is a definite favorite. In California, I also really like the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood and the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. And the Grand Wailea in Maui is another favorite.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I really like this chain of Brazilian steakhouses called Fogo de Chao. The Fish Market in San Diego has really fresh seafood. Porkyland Mexican Grill & Catering is good. And the Steakhouse at Azul in La Jolla, which has really delicious beef ragu.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I don’t need a lot. But I always like to have a list of all the best local places, a pair of swim trunks, some sweats, my flip-flops and my iPad.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Pittsburgh, of course. I also really like La Jolla; Waianae, Hawaii; Florence, Ariz.; and Tenmile, Ore.
Q. What are some of your favorite things about Pittsburgh?
A. There’s so much that I like about Pittsburgh, actually. The cultural district and museums are wonderful and I encourage everyone to check them out. And the food is excellent too!
Q. Where is the oddest place you ever met a Steelers fan?
A. In La Jolla.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Thailand. I would love to go surfing there and see the country.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. My best vacation memory is getting barreled at the beach in Hawaii. As for my worst vacation memory, I don’t have any bad memories. I’ve been fortunate enough not to have had any bad vacations.