Now that it looks like Pittsburgh Steelers veteran cornerback William Gay will play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals with his shoulder contusion, you can probably forget about seeing reserve cornerback Brandon Boykin on the field for many, if any, defensive snaps in that game.
Boykin, who was acquired by the Steelers during training camp via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional fifth-round draft pick, is doing his best to handle his lack of playing time so far this season.
“I want to play, everybody knows that,” Boykin said, according to steelers.com. “Everybody knows the people here, we’re competitors. We want to be on the field but you have to be in the right mindset. You have to be in the right head space when you actually do get that opportunity.
“If you walk around angry every day, you finally get in you’re not focused on what you need to be on. When things kind of transpired like they have I had to refocus myself and just try to get better at something every single day knowing that I’m new here, knowing that even if I didn’t walk in here and play Day One you still have to maintain your poise. You still have to go to work every day.”
For those who have suggested that Boykin might be in the doghouse with the Steelers coaches for whatever reason, the fourth-year cornerback let it be known that he is in constant communication with them.
“I’m in conversation with coaches every single day,” Boykin said. “I guess people are looking for a pow-wow or something. For me, it’s just kind of an understanding that things aren’t necessarily always going to go your way. You can’t make a crazy big deal about it. You just gotta kind of come to work.”
In addition to him playing 75 on special teams so far this season, Boykin has only played 22 snaps on defense. He was asked this past week if he knows why he hasn’t become more than a regular contributor on special teams.
“I don’t know, honestly,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and make up something.”
Personally, I think the Steelers view Boykin as only a slot corner and not as good of an option as Gay. It pretty much boils down to that and that alone. While fellow outside starting cornerback Antwon Blake has struggled quite a bit so far this season, it’s obvious that the coaches have no intentions of benching him based on the comments made this past week by Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler.
Boykin’s best chance at seeing more playing time on defense likely revolves around injuries and with Gay never missing a game during his long career, he might be lucky to play 100 snaps this season on the defensive side of the football.
“At any moment everybody knows things can change. I just want to go out there and put my best tape out and help the team as best I can,” Boykin said.
Boykin will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.