Steelers' top pick has history of concussions

Updated: May 1, 2003, 1:01 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
The Pittsburgh Steelers went into last weekend's draft with a single-minded focus -- to get USC's Troy Polamalu. And why not? He was clearly the highest-rated safety on the board, can hit with the force of a tsunami and run like the wind. Given the Steelers' obvious need to add speed to a plodding secondary, the third- and sixth-round picks it cost them to move up to select the former Trojan seemed a small price to pay.

Polamalu also brought to the table a well-renowned lineage. USC is famous for producing very good safeties, and boasts alums like Ronnie Lott, Mark Carrier, Joey Browner and Dennis Thurmond.

So with all that going for him, why should he be considered a risky pick? Because he's had at least five concussions since his freshman year in high school, three of which occurred during his stay at Southern Cal. The Steelers weren't spooked, because they had Polamalu checked out by a neurological surgeon a few weeks before the draft.