Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen will be a starter in 2013 for the first time in his career, but even though he is already well-known by fans worldwide, he doesn\'t get himself caught up in the fame game.
"I don’t think of myself as a celebrity," Allen said in an interview with Jeff Hartsell of The Post and Courier. “I’m just Cortez, the same person I was at The Citadel, before The Citadel, before the NFL.
"That’s very important to me, to never change for anything, for fame or money or whatever. Regardless of the setting, I just try to be my best self in every environment."
Allen, who was selected by the Steelers in the fourth round (128th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, registered 55 total tackles last season and forced three turnovers while playing the nickel corner spot in 2012. Now that he will be a full-time player in 2013, those numbers should only get better.
"I am just trying to absorb as much information as I can from the older guys, the coaches and so forth, Allen told a fan in a recent Q & A session on steelers.com. "I want to make sure I am ready physically to make sure I can complete a full season without any hiccups."
As far as his offseason training goes, Allen has been working out with fellow cornerback Ike Taylor again down in Florida at the Wide World of Sports Complex under the watchful eye of renown trainer Tom Shaw, and he has a lot of respect for the player who has taken him underneath his wing ever since he arrived in Pittsburgh.
"He has been a huge help in my development," Allen said of Taylor. "I learn so much from him just watching him, how he comes to work and prepares. I am working towards that. I am not there yet. If I can get to the level he is at as far as his work ethic I feel like I can be a lot better athlete. I have a lot of respect for him."
No Steelers cornerback has made the Pro Bowl since Rod Woodson in 1997, and Allen will be looking to break that drought in 2013. Woodson will be interning this year at training camp this summer as a defensive backs coach, so The Citadel product will have yet another great tutor to help improve his game in addition to Taylor and defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.
It really is good to see the attitude that Allen has and has had since coming into the league and there is no reason to think that fame and success will go to his head. He is as humble as they come, and he has a bright future ahead of him.