For Brian Allen, this offseason has been all about comfort. Getting comfortable in his position, transitioning from wide receiver to corner only a couple years ago, and getting comfortable in a new place. Born in Texas, playing college ball at Utah, Pennsylvania was a completely different culture.
Speaking with Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley, Allen said he wants to make the most of his sophomore season. That begins with a strong work ethic.
“That’s just my nature,” Allen told Varley. “I always want to be one of the first guys on the field last guy off. I always want to make myself better. Like I always say, there’s always room for improvement, no matter how great you are. I just want to go out there and work on the little things I think my game needs and progress to help the defense.”
There’s certainly been no shortage of changes to the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary this offseason. Releasing veterans like William Gay and Mike Mitchell, signing Nat Berhe, drafting Terrell Edmunds. It’s a unique situation and makes some of the young players who have stuck around into quasi-veterans, showing those new guys the ropes. But those players, like Allen, are still learning for themselves.
To help accomplish that that, Allen stayed in PA throughout the offseason. Not only to work closer with members of the Steelers’ training staff but to get used to the region.
“For a first year guy, I would rather stay here. Get acclimated with the city a little bit more. I got out and did a lot of stuff. Went up to Erie, stayed around, driving around, getting used to the state of Pennsylvania. I drove to Philadelphia, up through New York. Getting here, getting acclimated, building that camaraderie with teammates and coaches. It was just a good thing for me.”
There’s still no clear path to playing time for Allen, outside of continuing the work he saw on special teams in 2017. Cam Sutton is likely to be the backup, well, everywhere, keeping Allen in a reserve role. But all it will take is one injury, that will inevitably happen, to make Allen a next-man-up candidate. He’s clearly preparing the right way for when that time comes.