ChaiN REACTION Troy and Theodora Polamalu share how their pasts have affected their lives today, and how they’re determined to create a positive future for others By Rachel Jones Photographs by Michael Fornataro Art Direction by Samantha Casale + Jason Solak Assisted by Brianna PfluGh
roy Polamalu stands on the field at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex, his target in sight. He steps right. He cuts left. He lunges down. And scoops up his son, Paisios. The Pittsburgh Steelers Safety makes his way over to his wife, Theodora, and younger son, Ephraim, completing the Polamalu family portrait. A few flashes from WHIRL Staff Photographer Michael Fornataro’s camera later, and the boys are back to their game of tag. Mom and dad stick around for a few more poses, but time is limited. Final details for the Polamalu’s Polynesian Luau need to be confirmed in a few hours, and the Polamalu gentlemen haven’t had their post-practice/post-school meals yet. We head inside for some solo shots of Troy, and he throws an intense gaze into Fornataro’s lens. A few feet below, Ephraim is hugging his dad’s leg and asking if they can have fish tacos for dinner. Even as he reaches down to tousle his son’s curls, Troy’s eyes remain locked, focused — perfectly exemplifying how he balances his energy between his three loves: his family, his NFL career, and his dedication to helping others.
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