Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Allen on Familiar Course Cb Says Contract Isn't His Priority

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Allen on Familiar Course Cb Says Contract Isn't His Priority

Article excerpt

The path Cortez Allen followed is a familiar one. He walks in the footsteps left by Keenan Lewis at cornerback.

First, there was Allen's promotion to nickel back when Lewis moved from that spot to starting cornerback in 2012. Then came the move to starting cornerback when Lewis left last year as a free agent to sign with New Orleans for $26 million over five years.

Might Allen's next move be to follow Lewis right out the door?

The Steelers are taking the same kind of approach they took with Lewis in the final year of his contract. They have not started a conversation to try to negotiate a contract extension that would keep Allen with them beyond the upcoming season.

It might seem like a strange position for a team that has considerable cornerback issues. Ike Taylor, coming off the worst season of his career as a starter, is 34 and agreed to a pay cut in his final year under contract from $7 million to $2.75 million for what appears to be his farewell tour through the NFL.

William Gay, who returned to the team after a year away to fill the nickel spot last year, is 29. The Steelers signed 5-foot-9 Brice McCain after the Houston Texans cut him. They waited until the fifth round to draft Shaquille Richardson. Backup corners from last year include Isaiah Green and Antwon Blake.

Maybe the Steelers are not sure yet about Allen after one season as a starter, but at least they have more to go on than they did with Lewis, who played very well last season with the Saints. Maybe they do not think that highly of Allen; if not, then why is he still starting?

It's always possible that the Steelers could wait one more season, see how Allen plays and then try to sign him. That did not work so well with Lewis.

Allen contends he is blissfully oblivious.

"You can ask anybody, I never really think about contract stuff or what year this is," Allen said. "My goal is to be the best I can to help my team and get to the Super Bowl. That's my focus. Everything else will fall into place.

"Whatever happens on the business side, that will come when it comes. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Right now I'm just playing football."

Allen says he's doing everything he can so he will be healthy in the fall. …

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