The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended a few weeks earlier that they had planned it to, but now that their 2015 campaign has drawn to a conclusion, it’s time to wrap things up and take stock of where they are and how they got there. Part of that process involves holding player exit meetings at the conclusion of each season.
Of course, we’re not privy to the specifics that go on in each of these meetings between head coach and player, and whomever else might be involved in any particular discussion, but if we were conducting them, it might go something like this.
Player: Cortez Allen
Experience: 5 Years
2015 was not a good year, at least professionally, for Cortez Allen by any stretch of the imagination. For the third season in a row, he was projected to enter the starting lineup as the left outside cornerback, but this year, he didn’t even make it to the season opener before he was demoted, as he had been the previous two seasons.
Evidently due to his sluggish performance during the preseason, by the time the season opener rolled around, Allen opened up against the Patriots not in the base defense, but rather in the nickel, with Antwon Blake playing in the base defense.
Considering that the team had given him a big-money contract just a couple of offseasons ago, the Steelers were probably not overly motivated to make this move, and did so only because they felt it was necessary to field the best team possible.
It is unclear whether or not a knee issue played any role in attempting to minimize Allen’s playing time initially, but after the season opener, he never played again in 2015, and may never play for the Steelers again depending how the offseason ends up going.
Citing a knee injury, Allen missed the next several games until he was finally placed on injured reserve at some point near the middle of the season. It was the second season in a row in which he ended the year on injured reserve after getting demoted. In 2014, in fact, he was demoted and then benched. He didn’t even manage to stay on the field long enough to be benched in 2015.
Taking his place was second-year player Ross Cockrell, whom the Steelers had just picked up, and who appears likely, at least for the moment, to take over the left outside starting cornerback position, and should that come to pass, that will obviously not be a good sign for Allen.
The five-year veteran was reportedly already asked to accept a pay cut, but there has as of yet been no verification, let alone follow-up, on the status of that question. Should he fail to even crack the team’s top three cornerbacks, it would be hard to imagine that they keep him on the roster at all, even if he accepts a pay cut. Injuries have followed him throughout his career, which certainly didn’t help, but his on-field performance in recent times has been a disappointment, healthy or not.