Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teammates, Coaches Welcome Safety Allen Back with Open Arms

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teammates, Coaches Welcome Safety Allen Back with Open Arms

Article excerpt

Play long enough in the NFL and it's bound to happen. The coach calls you into his office and tells you your services are no longer needed.

For many, the experience of being cut comes in their first training camp. For Will Allen, it came in his 10th season in the NFL, and it happened after the fourth game of a season he opened as a starter.

Allen, who signed a free-agent contract with Dallas in the spring after three seasons with the Steelers, was cut by the Cowboys Oct. 8.

"I didn't really worry about it," Allen said. "I have very strong faith. Whatever is meant to happen is meant to happen. Obviously, I was upset because I had never been cut before, but my faith really kept me level-headed on what's more important. It didn't faze me as much."

Allen didn't have much time to contemplate unemployment. He was in Pittsburgh the day after he was cut to work out for his old team, and signed the following day.

Brought in to add depth in the defensive backfield, the re- acquisition of Allen paid off handsomely for the Steelers last Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Allen forced a fumble in the first half that led to a field goal and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to set up the Steelers' final touchdown in the 37-27 victory.

"It's good to throw Will Allen back in the fold with us because it doesn't slow anyone down," veteran safety Ryan Clark said. "You can call everything in the playbook. It was getting someone we were comfortable with, the coaches were comfortable with, that allows us to do certain things on the field that we weren't able to do when we were playing younger players in those positions.

"Now, there are four of us out there who can play four different positions. It's been purely about football, that's the best thing about having him back. The way he plays the game and the way he allows the rest of us to play the game."

Allen played only on special teams in his first four games back with the Steelers. When rookie safety Shamarko Thomas injured his ankle early in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills, Allen stepped into his role in the dime defense.

Allen played 32 snaps against the Bills and had one tackle and two quarterback hurries. …

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