Marcus Allen may not be receiving as much attention as his draft classmate, first-round draft pick Terrell Edmunds, but the fifth-round safety out of Penn State isn’t worried. He has already talked about the fact that the two have built a strong relationship with one another, even rooming together in a hotel room for this portion of the offseason.
He is just one small part in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ evident plan to almost entirely rebuild the back end of their defense. They have released three safeties from last season, namely starter Mike Mitchell and reserves Robert Golden and J.J. Wilcox, and they have brought in four new names.
In addition to the two rookies in Edmunds and Allen, they signed a veteran starter in Morgan Burnett and another depth addition in Nat Berhe. Allen is just trying to find a place within the pecking order, which also includes 2017 carryovers in Jordan Dangerfield and Malik Golden.
But he has enjoyed getting the opportunity to bond with and learn from his veteran teammates already, learning what he can from them, both on and off the field. He named Joe Haden and Sean Davis specifically as two players that he has been most helped by.
“Guys like Joe Haden, Sean Davis, guys that had experience in the league, those are great guys to lean on for advice”, he told reporters during OTAs. “I talk to those guys, ask them what to do and what not to do, and as far as the playbook and everything like that, they’re welcoming, so it’s great to be out here with those guys”.
He also pointed out that they have been helpful with some broader life advice, seemingly to imply that they were warning him about t he seedier side of the lives of some NFL players. “They give me great advice of where to go outside of the facility, and where not to go, so that’s great as well. I’m just truly happy to have those guys in my corner”.
Allen wouldn’t be the first player to find him in the wrong part of the city at the wrong time, getting himself into trouble. I’m sure I don’t have to name names, but there are recent examples from the past few seasons—both from the players and the coaching staff.
That is a really undersold part of life in the NFL. For the most part, rookies have never really been on their own and fully responsible for themselves and fully free during their college years like they are now. There is a learning curve in figuring out just how to run your life and be a responsible adult.
And yes, they have other staff members for that kind of thing (among them Player Engagement Coordinator Terry Cousins, and now Assistant Head Coach John Mitchell), but there’s something more natural in figuring out how a player ought to live from another player who is going through the same thing.