Newly released cornerback Cortez Allen sent out a farewell message to Pittsburgh early this afternoon.
— Cortez Allen (@Cortez_Allen) April 16, 2016
It’s a short, sweet, and to the point message to Pittsburgh and Steelers’ Nation. His release was certainly never the intended goal when he signed a four year extension two years ago, and at the time, though a bit of a gamble, Allen was coming off a strong end to the 2013 season. Despite the issues with his technique, it was the unforeseen health problems with his knee that failed to make his time in Pittsburgh salvageable.
A 4th round pick of the 2011 draft, Allen finishes his Steelers’ career with 18 starts in 56 games. Over that span, he racked up 168 tackles and six interceptions, a pair each year from 2012-2014. Perhaps his most memorable play was his pick-six in 2013 against the Green Bay Packers, giving the Steelers a 31-21 lead in an eventual 38-31 victory.
But 2014 was a rough year, getting torched repeatedly, including a dreadful performance against the Indianapolis Colts. He was placed on injured reserve in December. Despite appearing to be the starter heading into 2015 in the hopes of a bounce-back year, Antwon Blake jumped over him in Week One against the New England Patriots.
Allen played 32 snaps in sub-package that week before being held out with a knee injury for the next five. Pittsburgh decided to shut him down for good in October. After the season, Mike Tomlin made several passes at a lack of confidence in his future, circling his health and availability as obvious worries.
And so the team made the final decision to cut him yesterday afternoon. With the state of his health a concern, it’s far from certain Allen will garner immediate attention. Damaged goods are damaged, no matter what the potential might be. Though it isn’t a concussion-related matter, perhaps Allen decides to hang up his cleats. The risk of beating up an already chronic knee not worth the ostensibly low payoff – I imagine he’d like to be able to walk when he’s 40. If he does decide to push through, there is likely to be eventual interest, but just like in Pittsburgh, there will be no expectations for his ability to contribute.