Gay 'Stepping In' As First-Team Corner

William Gay started ahead of Cortez Allen Wednesday as Allen played in sub-packages. Read more on Gay, Will Allen, and healthy Jets guard Willie Colon.

PITTSBURGH -- At Monday's practice, Kelvin Beachum replaced Mike Adams.

On Tuesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced Cameron Heyward would replace Ziggy Hood.

At Wednesday's practice, Tomlin made another change: William Gay replaced Cortez Allen at cornerback.

"I was just stepping in," is how Gay explained it. "Cortez is dealing with an injury issue."

But Allen was healthy enough to cover slot receivers in sub-packages Wednesday.

Allen was asked if he lost his starting job.

"I've got to take care of a few things that need to get back right, as far as the scheme of things," Allen said.

Well, if Gay is indeed the new first-team cornerback, it's a deserving promotion. He played well while Allen was out with an ankle injury in the second and third games, and has played well all season in sub-packages.

"I think he's been playing really well," said safety Ryan Clark. "Same guy he was before he left: extremely intelligent, very reliable, great tackler. You can move him around anywhere. He's definitely been a plus for us."

When asked to assess his performance this season, Gay would only say, "We're 0-4."


A day after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, former Steelers safety Will Allen came in for a workout.

Allen, a 10-year vet, played the last three seasons with the Steelers before signing a one-year contract with the Cowboys.

He started the first two games but was replaced by rookie J.J. Wilcox in the third game. Allen made made 9 tackles and defensed 3 passes for the Cowboys. He also intercepted Eli Manning in the opener.

Steelers backup safety Damon Cromartie-Smith is struggling with a hip flexor injury.


After enduring three consecutive season-ending injuries with the Steelers, Willie Colon is healthy as the starting right guard for the New York Jets. And he's not the only one happy about it.

"Absolutely tremendous," Jets coach Rex Ryan said of Colon. "Mike Tomlin knows Willie Colon, and everybody knows this is a tough man. You guys know it as well as I do. He's great in the locker room. He's brought so much leadership to us and is still just doing a tremendous job for us as well. He had his best game of the season this past week and he has done a great job as a player, but I'm really proud of the contributions he has made for our football team. He is quite a leader, probably one of our biggest leaders on the offensive side."

Colon said he expected the Steelers to ask him to take a pay cut this past off-season, but they instead released him on March 13. He signed with the Jets three days later and his hometown team is 3-2.

"It was fresh start, a new chapter," Colon said. "Pittsburgh gave me everything. I gave them everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of the day, I love that city. I love what they gave me, but it's time for me to move on. I'm a Jet."

Colon also said of Tomlin, his old coach, "I love him to death." Why?

"Me and Coach T have a personal relationship. I think his ability to be a total general, his ability, when I was there, to always have a plan. There's a plan A, there's a plan B and there's a plan C. Throughout it all, he never rode the emotional rollercoaster. He always had a direct order. He always believed in us as a line. He believed in my abilities to handle that room and he believed in me personally as a man. I'm forever grateful for that. There is so much I learned from him by just watching through my years there. It was priceless. I'm kind of in debt from him in that regard."

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