Renowned trainer Tom Shaw reached out to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley after the 2012 season ended and invited him to train down in Florida at the Wide World of Sports Complex this offseason alongside cornerback Ike Taylor. Woodley turned the invitation down as he had already made plans to work out in Arizona, presumable at the urging of safety Ryan Clark, who said this past week that he had talked to the linebacker all season long about doing just that.
While Woodley will not be taking Shaw up on his offer, cornerback Cortez Allen evidently has again as Shaw posted a photo Friday on Twitter of Allen alongside Taylor.
— Tom Shaw (@CoachTomShaw) February 22, 2013
Allen, as many may remember, battled a hamstring injury his rookie season in training camp and it led to him missing the Steelers first three preseason games as a result. Luckily the Citadel product was able to suit up in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers and he played well after missing so much playing and practice time.
Allen played very sparingly in his rookie season on defense, but he contributed heavily last year as the Steelers nickel back and logged over 560 plays in the process. He was credited with 10 defensed passes and recorded 2 interceptions, both of which came in the crucial Week 16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Last offseason Taylor went as far as to say that Allen could become a much better cornerback than himself as long as he stays healthy.
"He knows what it takes and he wants it, Taylor said last July. "He wants to get better. The good thing I like about Cortez is he doesn\'t say much, he comes to work and he does what he needs to do."
"This dude could be way better than me - if he can stay healthy."
Depending on what ultimately happens with unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis this offseason, Allen very well could wind up being the starter in 2013 opposite Taylor. At the very least he will once again be the nickel back should Lewis be re-signed.
Taylor shows up to training camp every season in tip-top shape and it is good to see that Allen also takes his offseason conditioning just as serious.