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Madden Curse strikes Troy Polamalu

September 11, 2009 |  1:36 pm

Troy When will NFL players ever learn? Never appear on the cover of a Madden football video game.

One of this year's cover stars, Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was injured in Pittsburgh's first game of the season on Thursday. Polamalu suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) after the Tennessee's Alge Crumpler fell on his knee.

Polamalu was featured on the cover of Madden10 along side Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who should really consider sitting out the season.

A look at The Curse:

Madden 2000: On the box -- Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions. Sanders shocks fans and his team by announcing his retirement just before the start of training camp.

Madden 2001: On the box -- Eddie George, Tennessee Titans. George, who the previous year had led his team to the Super Bowl, bobbles a pass that is then intercepted and returned for a touchdown in the Titans' divisional playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Madden 2002: On the box -- Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota Vikings. Culpepper, who the previous year led the Vikings to the NFC championship game, sits out the last five games because of a knee injury as the Vikings finish 5-11.

Madden 2003: On the box -- Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams. After leading the Rams to the Super Bowl twice in three years, Faulk is hampered throughout the season by an injured ankle as his rushing yards drop to 953 after four consecutive seasons of at least 1,300 yards and the Rams fall short of the playoffs with a 7-9 record.

Madden 2004: On the box -- Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons. Coming off a season where he had led the team to the playoffs, Vick breaks his right leg in an exhibition that takes place only one day after the Madden game is released to the public. Vick plays in only five games during the season and the Falcons finish 5-11.

Madden 2005: On the box -- Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens. Coming off a season in which he intercepted six passes, Lewis fails to get even one interception as the Ravens don't make the playoffs after finishing 9-7.

Madden 2006: On the box -- Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb was selected for the cover after leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl the previous year. In the first game of the season, McNabb suffers a sports hernia and sits out the last seven games of the season. The Eagles finish in last place.

Madden 2007: On the box -- Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks. The season after he was selected league most valuable player for leading the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, Alexander breaks his left foot in Seattle's third game.

Madden 2008: On the box -- Vince Young. One of the biggest busts in NFL draft history.

Madden 2009: On the box: Brett Favre. Do we really need to recap his last few months?

--Houston Mitchell

Photo: Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu, bottom, injures his knee after Tennessee Titans' Alge Crumpler falls on it during a game yesterday. Photo credit: Keith Srakocic / Associated Press.

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