William Gay replaces Cortez Allen in practice Wednesday

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It's more of a promotion for Gay than a demotion for Allen - who had a rough Week 4 return from injury.

Steel City Insider publisher Jim Wexell reported Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen was back at the nickel spot in Wednesday's practice, and William Gay was in the starting position.

Wexell quoted Gay sort of dodging the issue, saying "Cortez is dealing with an injury issue." Allen is not listed on the team's injury report as having missed any portion of Wednesday's practice.

Allen missed much of the Steelers' Week 1 loss to Tennessee, then all of the following two games. He returned for the Week 4 loss against Minnesota, and was underwhelming, to put it mildly. Whether that's actually caused by injury, or they're simply going to make Allen work  his way back into the starting lineup remains to be seen.

At the same time, Gay has played well both as a starter and as a nickel back so far this season. It can't be said he hasn't earned his playing time, so if the Steelers are going to elevate him to the starting lineup, it seems more like a promotion for Gay than a demotion for Allen.

The Steelers take on the Jets in Week 6, and AFC Player of the Week in Week 5, quarterback Geno Smith. He completed 16-of-20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns in a road win over Atlanta. He's a dual-threat quarterback who won't run too particularly often, but has 102 yards on 19 carries so far this year.

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