9 Jan 2020

Sport: Polamalu shortlisted for NFL's Hall of Fame

4:06 pm on 9 January 2020

Former NFL player Troy Polamalu has been shortlisted for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 in his first year of eligibility.

The 38-year-old, who is of American Samoan heritage, spent 12 seasons playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion, four-time first team All-Pro selection and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.

NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu played 12 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, who was Polamalu's former defensive co-ordinator, told the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers that he deserved the accolade.

"I have said consistently Troy will go in on the first ballot," said LeBeau.

"I don't vote, but I sure did coach him. There are a select few that go in that first five-year period and he definitely belongs there."

"Troy was a dream come true to coach and it would be a tremendous honour and a dream come true to call him a fellow Hall of Famer."

From the 15 finalists, a total of five will be selected for the Class of 2020 and will be announced during the NFL Honors show at the Super Bowl in Miami.

Ronnie Stanley named Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year

Meanwhile in Hawaii, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame has named the Baltimore Ravens' Ronnie Stanley as their Player of the Year.

Introduced in 2015, the award is given to the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian lineage.

The 25-year-old of Tongan descent has played four seasons with the Ravens, where he recently helped them to a 14-2 regular season record on their way to becoming the number one ranked offense in the NFL.

The offensive linesman was also selected as a First Team All-Pro and named to the Pro Bowl.

Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman and former NFL player Jesse Sapolu said Stanley represented the best of the Polynesian culture.

"On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors, we congratulate Ronnie on a historic season... he truly represents the very best of our Polynesian culture."

Stanley tweeted that the award mean a lot to him

Stanley told The Undefeated website he continuously received support from the Pacific.

"I always get some type of tweet, or some message, from not just Tongan fans but Polynesian fans in general," he said.

"It's such a small group of people compared to other races in America. To see someone of that ethnicity playing football … they all support us because there's only a handful of us."

The formal presentation of the award will be held during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame celebration dinner in Oahu, Hawai`i at the end of the month.

Ronnie Stanley was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2016

Ronnie Stanley was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 Photo: Photosport