The Pittsburgh Steelers signed safety Will Allen as an unrestricted free agent back in 2010 and over the course of two seasons he has only seen 46 snaps on defense in addition to his heavy involvement on special teams.
Allen joined SiriusXM NFL Radio on Saturday to talk about several things related to the Steelers this upcoming season and that included him talking about where he sees himself fitting on the roster this year.
“I look to play more. The first game of the year Ryan Clark is not going to be able to start just because of his blood condition,” said Allen, who enters the third and final year of his contract. “We\’ve got Denver Sunday night and Peyton Manning, so I\’ve got to be ready to go. Training camp is a big time for me. It\’s a great opportunity you know. Ryan Mundy and I are going to be in a great competition and that\’s how it always is. I love it like that and I think the coaches are going to love it. And once we get into preseason we are going to see who stands out.”
Allen went on to talk about how prepared he had to be last season in the playoffs because of late season injuries in the secondary. “In the playoff game I was a backup at four different positions because we had so many guys down,” said Allen. I was a safety ready to go, I was at nickel ready to go and even at corner, because we had so many guys that were down.”
“I\’m expecting great things from myself,” said Allen. “I\’m going to prepare myself. I\’m confident in my abilities and we\’re just going to let the chips fall where they may, but I\’m definitely looking for more playing time this year.”
As I pointed out in the safety training camp roster battle post, Allen looks to be anything but a lock to make the 53 man roster as he heads into training camp. A plus in his favor is that Ryan Clark will miss week one against Denver, so the Steelers very well could decide to keep him as a fourth or even fifth safety. He figures to be battling the younger and less expensive Da\’Mon Cromartie-Smith for a roster spot, but there is a chance both could make the roster along with Ryan Mundy.
Allen is a solid special teams player and he could very well end up being the captain of the unit this year should he make the roster. The only thing that is really working against him right now is his $1.605 million cap charge. His understanding of the defense and ability to play multiple positions though, just might mean that he gets to play out his final year in Pittsburgh.