It has long been known that Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen is again working out down in Florida at the Wide World of Sports complex alongside teammates Ike Taylor and William Gay under the watchful eye of renown trainer Tom Shaw, and Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently caught up with him to talk about the process.
"Ike is one of the hardest workers I\'ve met," said Allen, according to Paulk. "Seeing the way he does things is something that I would one day like to model. I\'m getting a close-up view of what it takes to play 10 years in this league.
"We know what\'s required in the scheme of what we do. We know how to push one another. We have to coach each other. We\'re making one another and the team better as a whole."
Allen knows a successful system when he sees one and is smart to follow in the footsteps of Taylor, who unfortunately had is 135 consecutive games streak snapped last year after suffering a right ankle injury in the first meeting against the Baltimore Ravens.
While Allen is a slam dunk to start this season, he still expects to have to beat a lot of competition in training camp that includes Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne, who the Steelers drafted in the fifth-round last weekend.
"If you don\'t want to take on this kind of challenge, then you\'re playing the wrong game, and you\'ll never be as good as you can be," said Allen, the Steelers 2011 fourth-round pick from The Citadel. "When the opportunity presents itself, my preparation and mindset will be ready."
Taylor said last July that he believes Allen can be way better himself, and after a successful sophomore season that included two interceptions and three forced fumbles, Allen is indeed right on his heels. The two seem to really have the up-most respect for one another and it is exciting to think about what all of this hard work in the offseason might produce in Allen\'s first full season as a starter.
While Taylor is once again showing Allen how to get his body right for the rigors of a full season, perhaps this year the protégé can teach the mentor how to catch. Interceptions have long been the Achilles heel of Taylor, who is entering his 11th season.