The 2014 season was one that Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen will likely want to forget as the fourth-year player struggled right out of the chute after just signing a contract extension just prior to the start of the season. Allen not only found himself benched midway through the season, he also didn’t get an opportunity to redeem himself as a broken thumb suffered during a practice resulted in him being placed on injured reserve.
During his Tuesday end of the year press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin went into great detail about Allen after being asked to talk about what he saw out of his young cornerback after he was benched for poor play.
“I didn’t see much from him. His overall health was an element of it,” said Tomlin. “He got his knee scoped a couple of weeks back. He’s a couple of weeks out from a knee scope that he was dealing with over the course of the season. Obviously the thumb injury was what it was. He’s going to write his story in terms to how he responds to that adversity, but its not unlike a lot of people in this business, particularly at that position.
“Ike Taylor and I laugh quite a bit about his present circumstance, because Ike has been there. Of the ups and downs associated with playing corner in the NFL. Promotions, demotions, playing in rhythm, trying to find that rhythm, it’s all part of it. How you respond to the adversity that the game of football, or that professional football presents you, often times defines you and defines obviously your career.
“So he’s going to be faced with a stiff challenge in terms of responding to the adversity that he faced this year. I look forward to watching him do that and obviously helping him in any way that I can professionally.”
As you can clearly tell from Tomlin’s comments, the team is not even close to giving up on Allen. It also sounds like he was dealing with a right knee problem in addition. That’s the same knee that needed to be fixed in training camp last season.
The cornerback position is not a forgiving one and nobody knows that better than Ike Taylor, who trains with Allen during the offseason. Taylor went through the same adversity years ago and rebounded.
We’ve seen Allen play much better than he did this past season and he will now have all offseason to start figuring out how to overcome all of the adversity he faced in 2014. I’m not ready to throw Allen out with the bath water just yet and neither should you. Hopefully he can get himself back on track next season and become a longtime permanent asset to the Steelers at one of the two cornerback positions.