For more than 10 years, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu's luscious locks have made him one of the most visually identifiable players in the NFL. (He even got a shampoo endorsement deal out of it.)
But at 32, with his career on the decline, Polamalu decided to take on a new visual identity by trimming a few of his locks — and helping out some military veterans in the process.
TribLive.com reported Polamalu's haircut was the grand finale in a fundraiser called Mane Event — a seven-week effort undertaken by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to raise awareness of veterans' issues.
“Every time a piece of my hair comes out, and I look at a 20-inch strand, I'm like, ‘Wow, what happened when this first started growing?'” he said. “You think about all the life experience that you've had, and my hair's been a part of me. It's kind of become my fifth appendage and my identity.”
The California native and former USC star said he chose to support the VFW event because soldiers and their emotional well-being are often neglected once they return to civilian life.
“Troy Polamalu has one of the most famous heads of hair in America,” John Hamilton, VFW Adjutant General, told TribLive.com. “To have him take a role in our efforts is appreciated. We hope this event will help bring public awareness to the vital work the VFW is doing on behalf of those who deserve it most — our nation's veterans, military and their families.”