FOXBORO, Mass. — It's a hair thing.
Patriots safety Ross Ventrone worked on the scout team this week as Pittsburgh's reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Troy Polamalu, whose flowing locks have earned him a $1 million insurance policy and a Head & Shoulders endorsement deal. Ventrone has some long hair in his own right, so he laughed while bringing up the natural connection.
Aside from that, Ventrone has been praised over the last year for his performance at practice, so his work on the scout team will be important, particularly when it comes to emulating someone of Polamalu's caliber.
"He's all over the field," Ventrone said. "As an offense, you just need to know where he is all the time because of how disruptive of a player he is. Sometimes he's up on the line of scrimmage and then he's back in the deep pattern. He's all over the place, and he covers a lot of ground. He's a very good player."
Obviously, there's no perfect way to model yourself after such an elite player, but Ventrone put in the work to pick up on Polamalu's tendencies.
"Watch him on film, see what he does while trying to disrupt the offense as much as possible, just to be like him," Ventrone said. "The hair helps me a little bit. They see me running around with the hair. But I just try to look and see what he does and do what I can the best. He's a great player. He's very hard to emulate, but I'd like to give the offense the best look so on Sunday it's a little easier for them."