For several seasons, it wasn't uncommon to see Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor shadowing the opponent's best receiver, but during the second half of last season, that happened a lot less. During a recent interview with Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com, fellow cornerback Cortez Allen said that he hopes to follow in Taylor's shoes when it comes to covering the best in the league.
"Ike’s done it before me," Allen told Prisuta. "Hopefully, one day I’ll be in that position to be the level of player that he is. It’s a day-by-day process. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from him and the guys around me."
2013 was expected to be a breakout year for Allen, but a knee injury suffered in training camp that was followed by an early season ankle injury really seamed to stunt his growth. As it turned out, Allen found himself playing behind William Gay for most of the season as the sub package cornerback.
"That’s part of the game, part of life," Allen said. "Being able to keep your mind-set on what you need to get done and then if you attack those things, you’ll be all right. But you’re going to go through ups and downs, and it’s expected."
Allen has been mentored by Taylor ever since he was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of The Citadel and the two even train together down in Florida under the watchful eye of renowned trainer Tom Shaw. The two have always edified one another for as long as I can remember.
The Steelers might try to lock up Allen long-term this offseason as 2014 is set to be the final year of his rookie contract. In addition, 2014 is likely to be Taylor's last season in Pittsburgh, assuming of course the Steelers don't make him a salary cap casualty between now and the start of the new league year.
Taylor has played eleven years in the league so far after several thought he wouldn't last more than a couple. He is a good role model both on and off the field and it's no wonder that Allen wants to be just like Ike.